ECONOMICS - WALL STREET JOURNAL
takeover bid for Dow Jones is far from his first encounter with
publications that watch over what passes for probity on Wall Street.
More than once, analysts criticised the “loosey-goosey” accounting
methods of the then Adelaide-based News Corporation. The disappearance
of tax liabilities was striking.
Murdoch is too sensible
a capitalist to spend $5 billion on revenge. However, the question
arises: how many critiques of his financial statements are likely appear
once the Wall Street Journal
editors and staff know who is in charge?
More than that, how
free will the Asian Wall Street
Journal be to comment on politics and swindlers in the People’s
Republic of China? In 1995, Murdock provided Beijing’s Ministry of
Truth with a block-out switch on Star TV.
No doubt he will sign
another agreement to put an independent board between his interests and
the publications he takes over. Those arrangements have the habit of
surviving for as long as necessary not to hurt his profits or political
has two histories, one up to the 1930s depression, and the second since
then. Which line will a Mass Murdoch Journal
The older publication
was a nest of swindlers who enriched themselves by promoting stocks in
which they traded. Congressional committees exposed the crooks in 1932.
In its subsequent
manifestation, the Journal
prided itself on telling the truth to power. As early as 1967, its
editorial warned that the Vietnam war was bankrupting the country and
de-stabilising US dominance of the world monetary system.
Throughout the 1980s,
the Journal argued that the
interests of US corporations and strategy rested with Iran, not Iraq. An
editorial attributed Washington’s hostility to Teheran to the fact
that the Secretaries of Defence and State, Weinberger and Shultz, were
on loan from the Bechtel Corporation, which had lost a fortune under the
That line of argument
points to another feature of the Journal, its divided character. More often than not, the editorial
pages are barking mad. Murdoch will not threaten that aspect.
The reporting pages are as accurate as possible because their readership needs to know where best to park their billions. Putting Murdoch in charge of a prime source of their collective wisdom will add a premium to their risk-taking.