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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Big media gets bigger as Dow Jones succumbs to Rupert Murdoch

This is really, really, really bad news:
Rupert Murdoch has sealed a deal to buy Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. for $5 billion, ending a century of family ownership and adding a crown jewel to his global media empire, News Corp.

The companies said in the wee hours of Wednesday morning that they signed a definitive merger agreement after the deal won sufficient support to pass from a deeply divided Bancroft family, which has controlled the storied newspaper publisher for generations.
If there is any way of stopping this deal from going through, any possibility of keeping Dow Jones from being gobbled up by the News Corp. monster, that course of action must be pursued.

Here is Media Matters' statement, made by Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert:
"Rupert Murdoch's purchase of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal represents a sad day for American journalism. For decades, the Journal's news pages have often symbolized the rewards of serious reporting -- with this purchase, I'm afraid those days may be over."

"Murdoch has a long and sordid history of discarding the accepted norms of honest journalism in order to advance his own political and corporate agenda.

"Of particular concern is Murdoch's plan to use the Journal to help launch the Fox Business Network, which will be overseen by Fox News boss and former Republican strategist Roger Ailes."
And here is the reaction from media scholar and Free Press President Robert W. McChesney:
"This takeover is bad news for anyone who cares about quality journalism and a healthy democracy. Giving any single company — let alone one controlled by Rupert Murdoch — this much media power is unconscionable.

"Media consolidation has replaced investigative journalism with infotainment, foreign affairs reporting with fluff, and local coverage with cookie-cutter content. Contrary to industry spin, emerging Internet outlets fail to offset consolidation's effect on journalism. Now Murdoch will control a broadcast network, a cable news channel and a national newspaper — three of the small handful of outlets that set our national news agenda.

"Rupert Murdoch — who has never hesitated to use his pulpit to advance his own ideological and business interests — won't change his ways. But we can change the policies that allow companies like News Corp. to dominate our media.

"We can only hope the culmination of this deal is the wake-up call Washington needs to start rolling back media consolidation. The first step is to pass new 'cross-ownership' laws that would prevent the owner of a national television network from owning a national daily newspaper.

"Murdoch's empire wouldn't exist if he hadn't been aided and abetted by Washington policymakers in Congress and at the FCC. Only by restoring public input in the policy-making process can we create the kind of diverse, accessible and independent media that journalism — and our democracy — so desperately needs."
Learn more about the effort to stop big media at this FreePress site.

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