Critics Ramp up Murdoch Attacks as Dow Jones Sale Alleged

     The journalistic assault on Rupert Murdoch continues amidst reports that Dow Jones & Co.’s board (NYSE: DJ) will accept Murdoch’s buyout offer of $5 billion.


     Murdoch’s News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) reportedly will announce a deal on a $5 billion purchase next week. However, Dow Jones has issued a denial. Murdoch has been the focal point of scorn from media critics, reporters and editors – even being labeled a “predatory capitalist.”


      The Columbia Journalism Review’s Dean Starkman has been leading a crusade against Murdoch’s efforts. Since the negotiations were originally announced in April, Starkman has written 16 stories criticizing the deal.


     CJR, which labels itself as “a watchdog and a friend of the press,” has published 18 altogether – none favorable. A CJR editorial compared Murdoch to a “scorpion” its July/August editorial. “Memo from The Audit to the Dow Jones board and the Bancrofts: Don’t do it,” wrote Starkman in a June 26 post entitled “Pitiful.”


     Almost the entire genre of professional media publications and watchdogs has been critical of the deal. Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher called Murdoch a home wrecker. “Putting in controls for what Murdoch can do with the Journal is like selling a landmark house and stipulating that it can never be painted a certain garish color or get covered in aluminum siding,” wrote Strupp. “If Murdoch buys this house, don’t be surprised if he replaces a few windows, knocks down couple of walls, and paints it a color the former owners will hate.”


     Some Wall Street Journal reporters, acting in the name of “quality” journalism, demonstrated their bias against Murdoch by staging a half-day walkout on June 28 to protest the News Corp. deal.


     “We believe the the (sic) people who run Dow Jones got the message that an independent, high-quality paper and a fair contract go hand in hand, and that Dow Jones employees are committed to both. That was the purpose of our action, and we achieved it,” said the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees Local 1096 on its Web site.