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Story Update: The Murdoch Deal

A few weeks ago, we reported on Rupert Murdoch's bid to bring THE WALL STREET JOURNAL under the umbrella of his News Corporation.

With News Corps' $5 billion takeover of JOURNAL publisher Dow Jones almost a done deal, the press has been abuzz this past week:

Seth Sutel, of the Associated Press argues that Murdoch’s acquisition of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL opens up new opportunities:

"Now that its part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, JOURNAL publisher Dow Jones will have access to several things it would have had a tougher time finding alone: capital to invest in new digital distribution channels; ready access to multiple media platforms and more muscle to compete against rivals at home and abroad."

Eugene Robinson, writer for the WASHINGTON POST, argues that while selling THE WALL STREET JOURNAL to Murdoch may create some problems and issues, it may be the best situation available to the struggling paper:

"This week, members of the Bancroft clan who hold a controlling stake in Dow Jones, THE JOURNAL'S parent company, are deciding whether to accept Murdoch's money. It's a tough call, but I can tell them with confidence what not to do: The surest way to destroy the great newspaper their family has owned for more than a century would be to seek out some another billionaire, a "white knight" on a valiant steed, to buy the paper instead. If they're going to sell, they almost certainly should sell to Murdoch."

THE NEW YORK TIMES ran an editorial cautioning Murdoch to leave his influence out of the workings of THE JOURNAL:

"The best way for Mr. Murdoch to protect his $5 billion investment is to protect THE JOURNAL'S editorial quality and integrity. That will mean continued high-quality competition for THE TIMES and other news organizations. And that will be good news for all Americans."

Still, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is saying stop the presses:

"This deal means more media consolidation and fewer independent voices, and it specifically affects the local market in New York City…What's good for shareholders of huge media conglomerates isn't always what's good for the public interest or our civic dialogue...We should immediately conduct a careful factual and legal analysis of the transaction to determine how it implicates specific FCC rules and our overarching statutory obligation to protect the public interest. I hope nobody views this as a slam dunk."

So we've heard from journalists and critics, now we'd like to hear from you on this story.

Does the impending buyout of Dow Jones by News Corp represent a pillar of capitalism or a bane to democracy?


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The Mudoch Deal:
However one may view the acquisition, I suggest that one should consider the reality of "The New Class" a description of which is contained in my essay on my URL, http://www.geocities.com/gaelhouse1

One need only look to the early 1900's to William Randolph Hearst to know where this is headed. Hearst championed political and social agendas through his powerful papers. Whether today you would agree with those agendas or not, the fact is they came from the opinions and prejudices of one man. And those agendas most definitely affected society at the time, some of them irrevocably. Do we want this kind of scenario again?

Who is Murdoch? What are his opinions and prejudices? What kind of world would he like to see? Do you think he would promote those ideas through his powerful media? If you were in his shoes, would you? It's not about the money at this point, is it?

Anyway, it's too late now, he's got the Journal. Cross your fingers and pray.

Why doesn't Bill Moyers Journal investigate why the U.S. dollar is so weak in exchange against major foreign curriencies? It inhibits most Americans from traveling abroad and learning first-hand about the outside world. Is the dollar's weakness due to long-standing (since the 1970s) U.S. trade deficit or are there other major contributing factors? How can the dollar regain strength? These are important unaddressed questions.

What a bunch of sniveling ninnies! Oh, boo hoo, the big baddies are taking over all of our communication lines. By the very act of complaining via the Internet, these whiners are neglecting to see that they, too, have a voice! Jeez!

Just as wealth continues to accrue to a small and privileged elite, so too the means by which we inform ourselves, a small privileged elite decides what we need to know, how we are to think. Hopefully, the independent outlets on the internet will pick up the slack for those of us who still care about what is happening to us. It concerns me that more and more jurisdictions are imposing rules and sanctions on the internet - expecially when internet giants like Yahoo say they must observe such rules in order to do business (ie. complicity in Chinese repression). The internet is the last great hope for democracy.

Murdoch spent over five billion for nothing. Newspapers have no future. Unless the internet falters, it will be the source of information for most people.

Media consolidation, which, let's be clear, is simply media control by monied interests, can't possibly be a good thing for a democracy.

If we eliminated (not simply reduced or "controlled") corporate lobbying of our legislators ... made it illegal with serious penalties for individuals and corporations caught filling up our legislators' cookie jars ... then it wouldn't be profitable for powerful people such as Murdoch to buy out significant swaths of the public's source for news and other information.

The buying up of news sources by Murdoch is not the problem ... it's a symptom of the real problem of legal bribery of our legislators, which we euphemistically call "lobbying."

btw, who came up with the word "lobbying" to use instead of the more descriptive "corporate bribery of public officials?"

I agree with the post by Ruth Craxton. Our country's media is controlled by too few people. This is dangerous in a democracy which requires an informed populace. It is becoming more difficult to hear both sides of an issue.

The fourth estate is increasingly driven by profits, and Murdoch's empire is more profit driven than any other media group. Politics is driven by the disporportionate influence of the wealthy, and we see this in all three branches of our government. The concentration of media ownership similarly skews the fourth estate toward the interests of the wealthiest. Stealthily, we are also experiencing a blatant power grab of the channels of communications in general, with a few corporate conglomerates coming to control who does what on the internet. Few people have yet grasped the implications of this latter development, but as part of a local effort to institute community wifi, the power of a few communications firms to prevent us from providing inexpensive broadband to all residents of our city prvides a sobering revelation about the concentration of power in our country.
In response to Murdoch's takeover of the Wall Street Journal, I have cancelled my subscription. I urge everyone else to do the same. By spreading our consumer dollars across other newspapers and magazines, we can directly help to prevent media concentration. There are other independent publications; if we subcribe to them, they can hire some of the great WSJ journalists and develop their own investigative reporters. We do not have to send Murdoch a check every year to finance his politically compliant journalism.

There is such a tremendous down turn in Western civilization, led by the US of A, that Murdock is simply another force increasing the momentum. Let us preserve what we can, as the monks did during the Dark Ages, secure our contemporary Gnostic Gospels, and teach our children in secret. We're in for more than crashing bridges and infra-structure decay. Our immortal souls are being challenged, (exisentially, not religiously.) Rogues have control. It will take a mighty force to effect course correction.

Rupert Murdoch controls too much media in too many countries and he doesn't have much integrity.

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