The Wall Street Journal’s news pages are notoriously
liberal not in sync with the right-wing stance of its editorial pages. But ever since Rupert Murdoch bought the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones, many have wondered if that might change. The place of Barack Obama’s picture just above the best story ever salacious tale of sex and drugs at the Department of the Interior will give them little reassurance that conservative politics aren’t playing a role in the news department. Surrounded by police, walking on the sidewalk, Barack glancing over his shoulder–well, it looks more than a little like a perp walk picture. As it turns out, the picture has nothing to do with the headline. Barack was just going to an appearance on David Letterman.
On a related note: who would have ever suspected that working for the Department of the Interior could be so much fun?
Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal’s news pages are notoriously
The Loophole Legend: The Strange Life And Death Of JP Morgan’s Guarantee of Bear Stearn’s LiabilitiesBy John Carney
The last chapter of Kate Kelly’s Wall Street Journal epic on the decline and fall of Bear Stearns tells us that the “hurried deal” to keep Bear Stearns out of bankruptcy included a “loophole” that gave Bear Stearns investors leverage to seek a higher price. By now this story of the loophole is well-known, thanks in part to a New York Times front page story that first reported it. In time this story is likely to harden into conventional wisdom, especially now that it’s been endorsed by both the Times and the Journal.
Unfortunately, the story probably isn’t true.
Reporters and editors at The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Marketwatch and Dow Jones Newswires received an email this afternoon telling them that they’ll likely be moving up to the News Corp headquarters in midtown next year.
While some media watchers will no doubt bemoan the move as further endangering the independence of the Journal, our informal survey says the newsroom is divided on the move. The so-called “Park Slope lefty” contingent dreads the move, partly because it will lengthen the commute from Brooklyn. The “Westchester family” contingent welcomes it as it brings them closer to Grand Central Station.
WSJ, Dow Jones, Marketwatch, Barron’s to move to Manhattan in 2009 [Talking Biz News]
Alright, this is surely jumping the gun and I’m probably going to take it back by sooner rather than later (my money’s on this afternoon) but right now, what I’m saying is: the new Wall Street Journal rocks, specifically Page One. Yesterday it was an article on an 150 women taking part in an Assassin-inspired game of competitive knitting (“I got the sock. I’m dead.”), today it’s a piece the trials and tribulations of putting on a good Nativity scene this holiday season, with a particular emphasis on the issue of animals who are stealing the show from their human co-stars with hijinks so hilarious I’m not entirely convinced they were unplanned.
In Mount Laurel, New Jersey, M and J were headed off to Bethlehem to do their thing when the donkey Mary was riding freaked out and took off. Joe jumped on the ass and tried to stop him but fell off, got caught in the reins, and was dragged for several hundred feet. At First United Methodist Church in Tuckerton, NJ, a camel ate the set. In Orange County, California, at the Crystal Cathedral, a donkey stepped on Joseph’s foot and broke his toe. At Mount Olives Lutheran church in Mission Viejo, CA, rehearsals got held up for over an hour because two goats were screwing like animals (“They were just acting very inappropriately,” Diane Girard, a co-coordinator of the program said. “We had to break it up.”).
What does any of this have to do with business? Don’t know, don’t care. At all. Maybe I’m just a Jew getting into the Christmas spirit, maybe this article just has me fondly thinking about the time Joseph wrestled Larry to the ground and dislodged a pubic hair from his throat that had been stuck in there for days. I don’t know what it is. I just know I like it, and want it to continue. (Thinking ahead for the coming year: how to deal with the ignorant fucks (that phrase should be in the lede) who tell you you’ve “got some schmutz” on your forehead on Ash Wednesday? The deadly sport of Canasta? These are just for instances, nobody’s saying they’re going to be used, I’m just trying to get a dialogue going, and you know the ‘Journal’ likes to come around these parts for story ideas, anyway.)
Awry in a Manger: It Takes a Miracle To Stage This Play [WSJ]
The Wall Street Journal only ran a tiny thumbnail of the Bernanke-as-sheriff cartoon you see at left, that some graphics guy obviously worked really hard on, next to this morning’s recession story, and only on the site’s main page? If you’re going to be the New York Post under a fake name, you don’t just dip your toes in the water, you fucking own it. Next time we want to see the tramp stamp alongside the article in full-size, with a click to enlarge option.
On the other hand, bravo to whoever had the idea to put a story about men who dye their hair on A1. Good to see someone came to work today.
Meaning that more people are reading the Journal for less time, at least online, following the Murdoch print media philosophy of more eyes, less ink (we would have also accepted: “words are offensive,” or “who likes to read anyway?”). Maybe it’s that people turned away from market news in July the same way you can’t stare at a train wreck or maybe it was the Journal’s new emphasis on less-reader-intensive celebrity nipple slips, but monthly numbers suggest a definite Pre-Post-erization (take a second to wrap your head around that term) of the now slightly less sacrosanct WSJ.
Editor & Publisher released its monthly traffic numbers for online newspapers for the month of July. Compared to May, when the glacial progression of the Murdoch buyout process was really kicking off, the Wall Street Journal in July was being read by more people for 2 fewer minutes on average per user per month. It was being read by 3% more people for 17% less time. Ok Rupert, you win.
The order of the top five online publications ranked by traffic remained static from May to July, with the Journal rounding out that club at number five. The online papers read more than the Journal are the NYTimes, USATODAY, Washington Post and LA Times (in that order). The top three all experienced greater traffic spikes than the WSJ from May to July and, wait a second…all experienced declines in the average time spent on the site per user which means that (you heard it on DB first) Rupert Murdoch is going to buy the NYTimes, USATODAY and Washington Post. The world’s online print media is powerless to resist its reduction to large badly-punned inappropriate titles. Surprisingly, more people trafficked online newpapers in July than May, which confirms that suspicion that the people on vacation (your bosses) weren’t reading online papers anyway (you knew your MD was illiterate, strangely out of the cultural/current event loop) and that there is an inverse correlation between how busy people are at work and online media traffic.
For some reason one of most significant swings from May to July was the average time spent per person reading the NY Post, which increased over 50%, from a paltry 6 minutes per month to over 9 minutes. Alright, now we’re confused, what are you up to Rupert?
EXCLUSIVE: Top 30 Web Sites for July Traffic [Editor & Publisher]
UPDATE: Here’s Ranking of 30 Most Popular Newspaper Sites for May [Editor & Publisher]
Wall Street Journal reporters are in mourning today after the Bancroft family sold their souls to the News Corp Murdochracy for $5bn. “It’s sad. We held a wake. We stood around a pile of Journals and drank whiskey,” one writer said.
The Journal’s Managing editor, Marcus Brauchli (whose job, it should be noted, was secured during those interminable negotiations for “editorial independence”) tried to cheer up the troops this morning, sending around an internal memo with such heartrending reassurances as, “Our journalism defines the Journal,” and “It is too early to know how or even whether News Corp. ownership might alter priorities or structures at Dow Jones.”
For the time being, he’s probably right.
The Nation reported yesterday that MoveOn.org was going to be handing out “Murdoch’d” versions of the Wall Street Journal today near the paper’s headquarters at 1 WFC (200 Liberty Street).
According to our readers, the MoveOn people are nowhere to be found, or at least not during the morning session. One reader comments, “I guess fighting the man is tough when the man gets out of bed before 10am.”
The reported headlines of the parody paper:
- “All-Out Civil War In Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?”
- “Is The Liberal Media Helping To Fuel Terror?”
- “The #1 President on Mideast Matters: George W. Bush?”
- “Study: Some Trees Contribute To Global Warming”
- “Have Democrats Forgotten The Lessons of 9/11?”
Wall Street Journal Gone Wild [The Nation via Yahoo News]
It’s finally pretty much almost over. Rupert Murdoch has secured enough Bancroft family shareholder votes to move forward with his $60-a-share, $5bn bid, one future News Corp holding reports.
One day after a Murdoch spokesperson said the deal was “highly unlikely,” the Denver branch of the Bancroft family, previously holding out for a higher offer, capitulated, giving News Corp at least 32% of the family vote. Nonetheless, one Bancroft family spokesperson said today, “Any suggestion that the process has been completed and/or that a particular level of support has been established is at this point premature.”
Both companies have board meetings this evening to formulate the take-over procedure. Dow Jones is trading up 7.04% to $57.50 today.
News Corp. Appears to Have Enough Votes to Clinch Deal [Wall Street Journal]
Murdoch Seen to Win Control of Dow Jones [NY Times]
This is a list of people who we respectfully submit are liars: CNBC’s David Faber, Thestreet.com’s Nat Worden, and Reuters. We believe these entities to be capital ‘L’ small ‘i’ small ‘a’ small ‘r’s because among them they share the distinction of having reported or re-reported this morning that there will be an official announcement of News Corp.’s Dow Jones victory tonight. Nothing personal, it’s just that we no longer believe the words coming out of the mouths of people who say anything—outright, implying, leading, lip synching—that even hints that this whole thing will be conclusively finished before hell freezes over. We WANT to believe them, we just can’t. Know anyone you’d like to add to our list? Send his/her name to tips at dealbreaker dot com.
In other news, MySpace co-founder Brad Greenspan sent an open letter to Dow Jones shareholders detailing a new proposal (he’s done this before, several times) in which he would invest $600 million in cash and stock in three joint ventures with DJ. Greenspan says he’s received “interest” from five “credible” investor groups, though he would not disclose their names, and their profiles are set to private. Brad informed shareholders that he and his investors “can meet this week” in order to “firm investment commitments,” but starting next week things are going to be really tight for him, so if Dow Jones could really get back to him A-sap to nail something down that would be solid, just name the time and place, but seriously, get back to him soon, otherwise, who knows, he could be busy.
Dow Jones to Agree To Takeover by News Corp. [CNBC]
Dow Jones Deal Gets Closer [WSJ]
Dow Jones Soars As Deal Appears Near [thestreet.com]
News Corp., Dow Jones deal expected Tues [Reuters]
MySpace Co-Founder Makes Another Dow Jones Proposal [Bloomberg]
Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones, once a sure thing, then “too close to call,” is now “highly unlikely” unless the Bancroft family increases its support of the deal by 5 p.m. today, the Wall Street Journal reports.
At the moment, 28% of Dow Jones’ voting power supports the deal, although it is unclear what percentage of Bancrofts voted affirmatively; 30% of the family needs to support Murdoch for his $5bn bid to go through. If this is not met, “News Corp likely wouldn’t take the deal to a full Dow Jones shareholder vote.”
After all the mud-slinging and Rupe’s cryptic commentary, this summer’s saga could come to a close tonight, in which case I will have no idea what to write about.
News Corp. Says It’s ‘Highly Unlikely’ To Buy Dow Jones at Current Count [Wall Street Journal]