"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, July 18, 2011

News Corp's Wall Street Journal Defends Murdoch and News Corp

Starting with the first paragraph that the Wall Street Journal rank and file welcomed the new owner left me going, 'are you kidding me' because that is not how most people remember what happened.  The Wall Street Journal who was the premier business newspaper now has 12% business news on the front page as Murdoch bought the paper to take on the New York Times.  We covered this in an earlier blog post last week.

The last paragraph of the article should have been the first one if they hope to gain any credibility back for Murdoch and News Corp:
Phone-hacking is deplorable, and we assume the guilty will be prosecuted. More fundamentally, the News of the World's offense—fatal, as it turned out—was to violate the trust of its readers by not coming about its news honestly. We realize how precious that reader trust is, and our obligation is to re-earn it every day.
This scandal that this Wall Street Journal editorial talks about misses this:
A rival newspaper reported last week that the company's News of the World had hacked into the phone of U.K. teenage murder victim Milly Dowler, 13, in 2002 and may have impeded a police investigation into her disappearance. 
More possible victims soon emerged - other child murder victims, 2005 London bombing victims, the families of dead soldiers and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
and then we learn this:
 Earlier this week a former New York policeman now working as a private investigator alleged he was contacted by News of the World journalists wanting 9/11 victims' phone numbers and details of the calls they had made and received in the days leading up to the attack.
A source said: 'This investigator is used by a lot of journalists in America and he recently told me that he was asked to hack into the 9/11 victims' private phone data. 
'He said that the journalists asked him to access records showing the calls that had been made to and from the mobile phones belonging to the victims and their relatives. 
'His presumption was that they wanted the information so they could hack into the relevant voicemails, just like it has been shown they have done in the UK. 
'The PI said he had to turn the job down. He knew how insensitive such research would be, and how bad it would look. 
'The investigator said the journalists seemed particularly interested getting the phone records belonging to the British victims of the attacks.'
and then we find out what the former owners have to say:
FORMER WSJ OWNERS: 'We wouldn't have sold Journal to Murdoch if we'd known'
Members of the family which used to control the Wall Street Journal have said they would not have voted to sell the newspaper to Rupert Murdoch if they had realised the full extent of News International's phone-hacking scandal. 
Murdoch bought the newspaper in August 2007, six months after the News of the World's royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed for voicemail hacking - but at the time News International said the practice was confined only to Goodman. 
Today Christopher Bancroft, part of the family that used to control Dow Jones and Company, the Journal's publishers, said: 'If I had known what I know now, I would have pushed harder against [the bid].' 
Mr Bancroft, who at the time had sole voting control over a trust which represented 13
per cent of Dow Jones shares, said he would have 'held out' if he'd known.
Read more from the previous owners at The Daily Mail 
With all of this, someone wrote an editorial basically going after anyone who dares to go after News Corp and talking old news.  Bad timing is all I can say and maybe some of the media might want to take back their comments the Wall Street Journal has done a good job of covering this scandal.

Who did write this editorial from the Wall Street Journal?
July 18, 2011 
News and Its Critics
A tabloid's excesses don't tarnish thousands of other journalists. 
When News Corp. and CEO Rupert Murdoch secured enough shares to buy Dow Jones & Co. four years ago, these columns welcomed our new owner and promised to stand by the same standards and principles we always had. That promise is worth repeating now that politicians and our competitors are using the phone-hacking years ago at a British corner of News Corp. to assail the Journal, and perhaps injure press freedom in general. 
At least three British investigations into phone-hacking and payments to police and others by the now-shuttered News of the World tabloid are underway, with 10 arrests so far. News Corp. and its executives have apologized profusely and are cooperating with authorities. Phone-hacking is illegal, and it is up to British authorities to enforce their laws. If Scotland Yard failed to do so adequately when the hacking was first uncovered several years ago, then that is more troubling than the hacking itself. 
It is also worth noting the irony of so much moral outrage devoted to a single media company, when British tabloids have been known for decades for buying scoops and digging up dirt on the famous. Fleet Street in general has long had a well-earned global reputation for the blind-quote, single-sourced story that may or may not be true. The understandable outrage in this case stems from the hacking of a noncelebrity, the murder victim Milly Dowler. 
The British politicians now bemoaning media influence over politics are also the same statesmen who have long coveted media support. The idea that the BBC and the Guardian newspaper aren't attempting to influence public affairs, and don't skew their coverage to do so, can't stand a day's scrutiny. The overnight turn toward righteous independence recalls an eternal truth: Never trust a politician. 
Which brings us to Friday's resignation of our publisher and CEO, Les Hinton, who ran News Corp.'s British newspaper unit during the time of the alleged hacking. In his resignation letter, Mr. Hinton said he knew nothing about wide-scale hacking and had testified truthfully to Parliament in 2007 and 2009. We have no reason to doubt him, especially based on our own experience working for him. 
In nearly four years at the Journal, Mr. Hinton managed the paper's return to profitability amid a terrible business climate. He did so not solely by cost-cutting but by investing in journalists when other publications were laying off hundreds. On ethical questions, his judgment was as sound as that of any editor we've had.

In the specific case of Singapore, he allowed the company to defend one of our journalists against a defamation claim through the appellate stage, despite the historically faint prospect of success. This is more than can be said for other British and American publications. In doing so, Mr. Hinton forced the Singapore judiciary to address significant changes in the law protecting honest journalism elsewhere in the former British commonwealth that the judges could have otherwise ignored. 
Our readers can decide if we are a better publication than we were four years ago, but there is no denying that News Corp. has invested in the product. The news hole is larger. Our foreign coverage in particular is more robust, our weekend edition more substantial, and our expansion into digital delivery ahead of the pack. The measure that really matters is the market's, and on that score Mr. Hinton was at the helm when we again became America's largest daily. 
We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can't cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur. They want their readers to believe, based on no evidence, that the tabloid excesses of one publication somehow tarnish thousands of other News Corp. journalists across the world. 
The prize for righteous hindsight goes to the online publication ProPublica for recording the well-fed regrets of the Bancroft family that sold Dow Jones to News Corp. at a 67% market premium in 2007. The Bancrofts were admirable owners in many ways, but at the end of their ownership their appetite for dividends meant that little cash remained to invest in journalism. We shudder to think what the Journal would look like today without the sale to News Corp. 
In braying for politicians to take down Mr. Murdoch and News Corp., our media colleagues might also stop to ask about possible precedents. The political mob has been quick to call for a criminal probe into whether News Corp. executives violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with payments to British security or government officials in return for information used in news stories. Attorney General Eric Holder quickly obliged last week, without so much as a fare-thee-well to the First Amendment. 
The foreign-bribery law has historically been enforced against companies attempting to obtain or retain government business. But U.S. officials have been attempting to extend their enforcement to include any payments that have nothing to do with foreign government procurement. This includes a case against a company that paid Haitian customs officials to let its goods pass through its notoriously inefficient docks, and the drug company Schering-Plough for contributions to a charitable foundation in Poland. 
Applying this standard to British tabloids could turn payments made as part of traditional news-gathering into criminal acts. The Wall Street Journal doesn't pay sources for information, but the practice is common elsewhere in the press, including in the U.S. 
The last time the liberal press demanded a media prosecutor, it was to probe the late conservative columnist Robert Novak in pursuit of White House aide Scooter Libby. But the effort soon engulfed a reporter for the New York Times, which had led the posse to hang Novak and his sources. Do our media brethren really want to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news? 
Phone-hacking is deplorable, and we assume the guilty will be prosecuted. More fundamentally, the News of the World's offense—fatal, as it turned out—was to violate the trust of its readers by not coming about its news honestly. We realize how precious that reader trust is, and our obligation is to re-earn it every day. 
Source:  Wall Street Journal
What I find astounding about this opinion piece is that it goes on the attack I have a hard time believing.  The Wall Street Journal has had their own problems in the past as Murdoch has molded them into more of a Fox News light then a business journal.  In doing research this morning ran into something I find unethical on the part of a board member of the Wall Street Journal and have to wonder if he is behind this puff piece for Murdoch.   Something about a member of the Board, Stephen Moore, getting involved with the Koch Brothers and their Americans for Prosperity group and agenda, is not right.  He has spoken all over the country and been paid to push their agenda but yet sits on the board of The Wall Street Journal. 

People on the right will say in defense of Moore that people on the left at the NY Times do the same.  This time they are most likely wrong as members of the board of the NY Times do not do paid speeches to push an agenda of a specific group -- they just write very liberal editorials and allow opinions in some of their news articles or use press releases for articles which is also not very ethical.  

If they do have board members pushing agenda in paid speeches, then someone needs to send us the info because we cannot find anything.  We can only find their denial which is believable.  Their editorial board may be very liberal but editorials are always someone's opinion who I can agree with or reject.  When the media becomes part of the story that is wrong.  There are way too many people who confuse the editorial pages with the front page including some reporters who put their opinions in news articles.  

Could the media do a better job of reporting?  Absolutely by giving us facts not reporting spin they have been given by talking point papers.  I don't care if you are right or left if you give me the facts and can make my own determination.  

In recent months, I have started to read the LA Times once again for their news stories because I know I am getting the facts as they check out time and time again.  Yet there are some conservatives who continue to trash them and don't bother to read their articles.  I know their editorial pages are mostly liberal but that doesn't bother me as long as their articles are factual.  Having lived in Southern California and taken the LA Times while we were there, I have enjoyed reading some of their articles once again like the one about gridlock which didn't happen with the I-405 being shut for the weekend.

Murdoch destroyed the reputation of The Wall Street Journal as the business paper everyone needed to read by wanting to use it to take down the NY Times.  With this editorial, the editors are out to destroy their credibility as well by defending Murdoch.  Now they whine others are out to get News Corp.  Excuse me but the day Murdoch bought the Journal to take on the NY Times, is the day he deserves to get everything that is thrown at him.  After what he did to the papers in San Antonio, I have no respect for Murdoch and no sham editorial is going to change that fact.  

As a former reader of The Wall Street Journal, I can answer it is not a better business paper than before Murdoch took over the paper.  It still cannot compete with the NY Times and now with knowing that a member of their board is going around the Country for the Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity, I even question what I read more.

The calls for the FBI investigation is bi-partisan and I think necessary to determine if News Corp reporters tried the same thing with the 9-11 tragedy or other events that have been alleged by a former New York City policeman now turned investigator.

When our local cable company did not have Fox News, I became a pest along with some others to get them on our cable system.  With a few exceptions, Bret Baier's news show, I watch very little of Fox News and regret at times like during the Gulf War after they hired Geraldo that I had any part in getting them on our cable system.

The Board of News Corps needs to clean house because frankly right now their credibility has been badly damaged.  Since we have MSNBC who leans very left, and CNN who tries to be down the middle but leans left, we need a news network that reports the news not becomes the news like Fox News did in the Tea Party movement along with Americans for Prosperity the arm of the Koch Brothers which they failed to report of if they did it was buried.

What was the real reason that Glenn Beck and Fox News separated?  Don't think we have the full story yet.

Fox News breaking news is a joke in most instances and why a lot of people turn to CNN.  The American people deserve a down the middle news channel that isn't right or left but deals with the facts not hysteria like CNN Headline News today.

Isn't there some honest billionaire out there that wants to do a real cable news program not fluff and hire reporters they know are going to give facts not spin?  First two people hired should be Jake Tapper of ABC News and Chip Reid of CBS News -- start it out with two of the most honest reporters at the White House and you have the start of a real news channel!

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