Murdoch’s Right-Wing Transformation of the WSJ

December 14, 2009

(ChattahBox)— The New York Times published a critical look at the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, the day of the two-year anniversary of the takeover of the venerable business publication by Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp and owner of Fox News. The NY Times concluded that the WSJ, remains a decent source of business news, but with a decidedly anti-Obama and conservative slant. Along with flashier headlines and larger tabloid-like photos, the WSJ also engages in less arcane business analysis and more politics mixed with business. In other words, the paper has been dumbed down and politicized, but not to the extent it has become a failure.

Glenn R. Simpson,a former employee of the WSJ who left last March, describes the transformation of the paper, as removing excellence and replacing it with mere competence. “Murdoch didn’t ruin The Wall Street Journal; he just rendered it into a much more ordinary paper,” said Simpson.

Robert Thomson, the paper’s top editor, together with neoconservative Gerard Baker, the deputy managing editor and former Washington bureau chief of The Financial Times, have worked in concert to stamp the WSJ with an anti-government and pro business agenda:

“According to several former members of the Washington bureau and two current ones, the two men have had a big impact on the paper’s Washington coverage, adopting a more conservative tone, and editing and headlining articles to reflect a chronic skepticism of the current administration.”

“Reporters say the coverage of the Obama administration is reflexively critical, the health care debate is generally framed in terms of costs rather than benefits — “health care reform” is a generally forbidden phrase — and global warming skeptics have gotten a steady ride.”

The WJS denies that its coverage has a biased and anti-Obama slant.“The Journal has always provided its readers with unique, objective news reporting from our Washington Bureau,” said a WJS spokesman.

However, before Murdoch’s purchase of the WSJ, the paper was hardly a refuge of progressive ideas. And the opinion page of The Journal has always been a bastion of conservative editorials. But since Murdoch’s takeover of the paper, the former biased opinion pages of the paper have moved to the front page. True, there is still some excellent reporting taking place at the paper, it just doesn’t make it through the editor’s desk unscathed.

See the New York Times for more.


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