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In the wake of today’s news that Rupert Murdoch appears to have won his battle to buy The Wall Street Journal, a former Journal columnist expresses his concern that the paper will lose journalistic integrity:
Standards are the lifeblood of WSJ and its related properties. … I remember being told in a meeting that not only were advertising representatives who sold for WSJ.com on a different floor; we weren’t even allowed to know their names. That way, ad reps and their clients could never influence a story.
It is hard to imagine that News Corp. — a juggernaut with more than $25 billion in revenue in 2006 — will keep such ideas in place, considered almost relics in a struggling business. Since Murdoch’s bid was announced, The Wall Street Journal has excelled at covering the story about itself. If bad news erupts about News Corp., will Murdoch dare let reporters investigate the problem and potentially scare off advertisers?
This is the second installment in the Rupert Murdoch Cultural Parable Series. Its predecessor was, of course, the Parable of the Fox (Network) and the Hounds, a.k.a. Social Conservatives’ Worst Enemy: Political Conservatives.
Elizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor for Sojourners.