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The Dow of Murdoch: The First Pulitzer Prize Winners' Letter!

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A group of Pulitzer Prize winning journalists at the Wall Street Journal have written a letter to members and a representative of the family that controls the newspaper’s parent company, Dow Jones & Co, opposing a proposed acquisition by News Corp, Greg Sargent reports on Talking Points Memo. The letter is signed by a team of reporters based in China whose coverage won a Pulitzer this year.
“We are correspondents who report from China for The Wall Street Journal, and we are writing to urge you to stand by the Bancroft family's courageous and principled decision to reject News Corp.’s offer to acquire Dow Jones & Co,” the letter signed by seven journalists begins.
The letter, dated May 10th, accuses News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch of allowing business interests to interfere with the journalistic integrity of news organizations owned by the company.
“News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has a well-documented history of making editorial decisions in order to advance his business interests in China and, indeed, of sacrificing journalistic integrity to satisfy personal or political aims,” the reporters write.
DealBreaker reported last week that Pulitzer prize winners at the Journal were being urged by opponents of the deal within the paper to write letters supporting the initial rejection of News Corp’s offer by the Bancroft family. It is not clear if this letter came as a response to that effort.
The Bancroft family controls Dow Jones through its ownership of most of the company’s super-voting Class B shares, which wield ten times the voting power of shares of common stock. Family members Leslie Hill, Elizabeth Steele and Christopher Bancroft received the letter, as did trustee Michael Elefante, who represents the family trust which controls much of the family’s shares. All four sit on the board of directors of Dow Jones.
Members of the Bancroft family also received a letter yesterday from Murdoch, dated May 11th, denying that he would interfere with the journalistic integrity of Journal.
“The businesses of Dow Jones, and in particular The Wall Street Journal, represent American journalism at its best. Your record of journalistic independence and integrity is second to none. Any interference -- or even hint of interference -- would break the trust that exists between the paper and its readers, something I am unwilling to countenance. Apart from breaching the public's trust, it would simply be bad business,” Murdoch wrote.
The editor of the Times of London also authored a letter denying that Murdoch had interfered with the China reporting or editorial policy of his paper.
Wall Street Journal's Pulitzer Prize-Winning China Reporters Write Letter Blasting Murdoch Takeover Bid [Talking Points Memo]