Yes, I am really talking about Rupert Murdoch, the evil genius behind the Fox News Channel who is now in the news (when is he not?) with a new $5 billion dollar offer to buy the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Company to add to his other “assets”
While members of the Bancroft family who have a controlling interest have so far resisted his entrées---and with an army of big media companies readying offers of their own in the background and foreground—it is a foregone conclusion that the company will soon be sold as one more generation of press barons cashes out.
So far, the press has pictured his this almost as a Mafia maneuver with competing families eyeing each other nervously and playing a waiting game. Here’s Rupert reassuring the New York Times of his intentions and playing against any “crazy like a fox” suggestion.
"I don't want to be in a position of putting one Bancroft against another Bancroft," Mr Murdoch said. "I'm not in the business of stirring up trouble in the family. Our understanding is that there are several members of the family who have not made a final decision.
(Hmm, hasn’t Murdoch had more than a bit of “trouble“ in his own family with a divorce from wife #1 followed by a marriage to a much younger employee who became wife #2 and then the defections of one son and a daughter from top posts?)
"I think the next step for us is to be patient - and to be available at any time should they respond to my suggestion for a meeting."
Reports the Guardian, “The New York Times asked what would happen if a large majority of the family ended up clearly rejecting his bid. "It would be ugly - depending on your perspective, it might be admirable too," he said. "I think it would cause quite a lot of argument.",,,
(It was not clear how Murdoch defines “ugly” or “admirable.”)
“IF I HAVE ANY…”
"My real intention is to try to get a meeting, not to impress them with my charm - if I have any - but to impress them with the intentions and feelings of my adult children," he said.
How humble, proper and polite it all sounds with the world’s most controversial mogul and rightwing media manipulator suggesting he would let the paper stay the same, not meddle and even appoint an independent editorial board, although true to form, he assured the public and his own board at the Orwellian sounding News Corp that he would “keep an eye on it.”
You can bet he will. One key aspect of all this has not been mentioned in all the newspaper-centric stories focused on whether the paper’s great “standards” will be tainted. (Excuse me but isn’t the Journal also known for having the most Neanderthal-reactionary editorial pages in the world?)
It is already two newspapers in one and if Murdoch assumes control, it could become three. The current editorial board is already to the right of Fox News. A little tabloid glitz might heighten its appeal.
A TV BUSINESS CHANNEL IS THE REAL GOAK
Yet, a dissent to this good versus evil narrative of is in order. Forgotten in this discourse so far are two words---television and broadband. That’s the direction the media is going in, and for Murdoch who has been secretly creating a new TV business channel to compete with CNBC and Bloomberg et al, Dow Jones could add tremendous value as a news service while the Journal would give the whole package a marketable brand.