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View Diary: Signed, Sealed, & Delivered (268 comments)

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  •  I've got to wonder... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    newjeffct, mcfly, Eddie Haskell, andgarden

    ...whether the actual result will be making news worse.

    The thing about the WSJ is that it always did an excellent job on certain kinds of reporting because that reporting was of extremely high value to its demographic in the financial services sector.  That sector is no less needful of that kind of accurate information.  And, of course, that sector is very wealthy and influential.

    It is, of course, possible that the financial services industry would simply turn to Bloomberg and Forbes, and that the WSJ would just become a prestigious masthead in Murdoch's possession.  But I can't see how the industry the WSJ serves can simply disregard any drop in quality - literally billions of dollars depend on it.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:46:14 AM PDT

    •  One salve is that (3+ / 0-)

      most of the people who read the Journal won't react well to obvious propaganda. No, the distortion will have to be subtle.

      •  "Other than that, Ms. Lincoln . . ." (9+ / 0-)

        Not much comfort, there--subtle distortion is almost worse than blatant distortion.

      •  I don't think that... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        groggy, andgarden, Militarytracy

        ...the WSJ will be able to get away with any distortion on the sort of reporting that matters to people in financial services.  Once even a slight distortion has a financial consequence, that jig will be up.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:49:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously? (11+ / 0-)

          The present state of the markets is BUILT on lies, mob psychology and ignorance of economic reality (see Krugman, Paul, and almost any Bonddad diary).

          They'll hardly notice.........

          The Perfect is the Enemy of the Better

          by dabize on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:53:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dabize, groggy, andgarden

            ...I tend to disagree often with both on economic matters, but more importantly, those lies and mob mentalities are typically towards the purchasers, not the sellers of financial services.  The sellers typically are in on the scam.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:55:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hope you're right (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              groggy, annefrank, Jay Elias, Noor B

              But remember that belief in something comforting sells better than truth to almost everybody, and that Murdoch is one of the main guys driving the inability of Americans to tell the difference......because it makes money for him, but also because it's become a habit.

              Do you really see him breaking this habit?

              The Perfect is the Enemy of the Better

              by dabize on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:03:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dabize, groggy, andgarden

                ...I can't say what Murdoch will or won't do.  I just think that if he practices yellow journalism at the Journal, it is going to cost someone a lot of money.  And the entire industry will hear of it promptly.

                So, if he does his usual on the WSJ, he'll lose his most valuable audience pretty fast.  And possibly make very powerful enemies at the same time.

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:06:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'll bet that most readers of the WSJ (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  KingOneEye, wonmug, Jay Elias

                  are "purchasers", even though the most important people are "providers".

                  The most valuable people are those who subscribe to the WSJ and like to drink Kool-Aid.

                  I figure that it will be the second coming of 1931 before RM and the WSJ really have to pay for distortions - so long as the distortions contain liberal helpings of mindless boosterism for people who invest in the markets.

                  I'm no expert on this, BTW......that's just my intuition guided by the light of past observation of RM.

                  The Perfect is the Enemy of the Better

                  by dabize on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:11:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They would have to be purchasers... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dabize, Leap Year

                    ...only about fifty thousand people tops are the real powers in financial services.

                    I worked for one of the biggest New York hedge funds nine years ago, though.  And those people aren't fucking around.  And they control huge sums of money.  So, my point is that if the WSJ loses them, other people will hear about it.  And if the WSJ isn't the paper trusted by partners at Lehman and Ernst & Young and Smith Barney, what are they?

                    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                    by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:17:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I think you're probably right, but I think (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dabize, KingOneEye, dianem, wonmug, Jay Elias

                  Murdoch's vision is much more sophisticated than simply inserting his yellow journalism for the sake of selling his yellow journalism.  I think he sees an opportunity to control the market and make and break companies at will.

                  If you really analyze Murdoch's career, you'll see that he has a habit of destroying - decimating - his "enemies" - but the reason that he is shrewd is that when he creates those voids he is quick and calculating about how he fills them.  He usually fills them with loyalists.  So in the market that can play out in such a way that he is viewed as a leader to be followed in hopes of being on the winning side of his market manipulations.

                  So while there may be some who take great losses as a result of his market manipulations, there will be others who will likely win big and they will follow him as a result.  The only way for him to screw that up would be for him to trigger some sort of market downfall that would affect the majority of the players and not be a very big win for anyone even if they gained.

                  I think that we are going into an interesting "experiment" here and that we are all going to be Mr. Murdoch's guinea pigs for a while.

                  •  Interesting read... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bronte17, inclusiveheart

                    ...my initial thought was that this was just a shiny bauble for Murdoch to add respectability to his empire.

                    But people like Dick Fuld and Samuel DiPiazza aren't followers.  And they are as big players as Murdoch if not bigger.  If Murdoch is taking them on, it would be unprecedented.  And something to be rather scared of.

                    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                    by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:43:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  He has the role of king maker in politics. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bronte17, Jay Elias, moosely2006

                      It seems the logical extension of his game would be to become a king maker in the markets.

                      It is kind of scary imo.

                      •  Sure... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        inclusiveheart

                        ...but the people who are already kingmakers in that line tend to be jealous of their royal powers.

                        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                        by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 08:04:04 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  There were those in the media (0+ / 0-)

                          universe and the political arena who were at one time standing in his way too, but he managed to amass power in those venues despite the previous kingmakers' objections.

                          The thing that is most frightening about Murdoch is that he is incredibly patient, disciplined and focused on his greater goals.  He is a formidable opponent.

                      •  You have that backwards (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        moosely2006

                        His goal has always been to become king maker in the markets. Money = Power. Power = Money. Fox is conservative because he saw a niche for a right-wing media empire and he filled it. He didn't create the American distrust of the media, the right-wing did. He simply tood advantage of their strategy and created a flashy channel that would feed the anger of the people who believed in their PR.

                        He won't "take on" the biggest players, he'll work with them, the same way he is charming Bill and Hilary Clinton. Everybody will benefit. Well, at least everybody who matters to them. The masses - including you and me - will get screwed. Politics is nothing to Murdoch. Power is what it's about.

                        •  I'm not sure that I said that this (0+ / 0-)

                          goal to become a financial kingmaker is something new.  I think I was positing that he has been building his empire over the many years first in media and then in politics and now he is taking the prize in the markets by acquiring the crown jewel in the financial media  I never meant to suggest that this plan was new as much as suggest that the themes we have seen in both the media and political arenas would continue.

                          I would disagree with the assessment of who he will or will not take on.  He will take on anyone who gets in his way.  He is smart enough to engage even his enemies where they can help advance his goals, but he will divest of them the minute he can get something closer to his ideology.  He is btw almost fanatical in his love for Ronald Reagan.  His political ideology can and has eclipsed his quest for money on occasion - the NY Post is a good example.  he loses money on it, but he wants his right wing agenda promoted on a daily basis so he takes the loss.  He is a bit more complex than just power - he is an ideologue too.

                          •  I'm not sure he's an idealogue (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            inclusiveheart

                            I'm sure that what you're saying about Reagan is true, but I don't think that Murdoch loves the right wing political ideals as much as he loves their economic policy of not putting limits on wealth or power. I suspect that when Murdoch promotes a particular party, it's because he believes that he will benefit by promoting that party, not because he actually agrees with their social policy.

                            By the way, I agree with most of what you're saying about Murdoch, and feel that it is very on target. I guess I just interpret his political activity differently. I think that he uses politics to further his economic expanstion, not the other way around.

                          •  I read a really interesting article a while (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dianem

                            back which was an interview with him and Roger Ailes.  He was surprisingly candid about his devotion to conservative ideology and talked about - also in a surprisingly candid way - how he stuck to the conservative voice at Fox and with shows like The O'Reilly Factor for a long time even when he wasn't making money because he believed in the conservative ideology.  For whatever reason the question of Phil Donahue's firing from CNBC came up in the interview and that was why he started talking about the intersection of ideology and his media empire.  I actually think his belief in conservatism is an important component in his recipe for success.  It is a driver for his long-term vision which is what I think makes him different from your garden-variety business mogul.

                            Around the time I read that article - it was just about the time that he was first talking about his new financial news television network - I had this conversation with my father and I remember saying to him that I wondered what the world would have been like right now if instead of being a committed conservative, Murdoch had been a committed liberal and achieved the media empire that he has achieved.  I wish I could even remember where I found that article.  It was one of the pro media rags, but I can't for the life of me remember which one now.  I think you'd probably find it interesting though.

                •  People believe what they read (3+ / 0-)

                  Even rich people. Owning the media is the first step toward owning the minds of a society. I'm not suggesting that Murdoch is trying to take over America. That would be paranoid. He's just trying to dominate us economically.  Fuctionally, that's better than dominating us politically, at least if you want to make lots of money.

                  •  Correct. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dianem

                        A very powerful 'behind the scenes' individual in our state was asked, in a private conversation, why he wouldn't consider running for the office of governor. He replied "Son, I much rather own the governor than be the governor". When Zombie Reagan was elected president in 1980, William F. Buckley was asked whether he aspired to any post in Reagan's government. His response, "Ventriloquist".

        •  You know Murdoch's going to try though (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          groggy, andgarden, Jay Elias, moosely2006

          he has too many crooked buddies and he just can't help himself.  I look at the man and I know he just won't be able to help himself.

          In the Pajamahadeen I'm Scooby-Doo!

          by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:56:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dunno... (0+ / 0-)

            ...it is one of those things that could earn him the kind of enemies he'd rather not have.

            The financial services community is rather incestuous.  Start burning those people, and they will try to find a way to burn you back.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:59:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He'll expect to get away with it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jay Elias

              if he actually tries.

              •  Oh sure... (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                groggy, andgarden, Militarytracy, Noor B

                ...I just think that we make a mistake in underestimating these people, both in terms of intelligence and deviousness.

                The top people at all these firms are easily as powerful as Murdoch, but unlike him, nobody knows their name or what they are up to.  That's not a coincidence.

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:02:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It has to be true that he didn't get where he is (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dabize, groggy, Jay Elias

                  cuz he's dumb.  He is so corrupt though and a healthy economy seldom goes hand in hand with corruption without something having to give eventually.  Having a checkered past doesn't bother him much either so I doubt that he will ever feel as exposed as I see him.

                  In the Pajamahadeen I'm Scooby-Doo!

                  by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:09:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is hard to say... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Militarytracy

                    ...what will happen.  In this circumstance, the other interests are in some ways more powerful than Murdoch.  That is rarely the case with him.  So, who can say what exactly that will result in?

                    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                    by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:11:39 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I hope you're right, Jay. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jay Elias, moosely2006

                  I make no secret of the fact that I'd like to see Murdoch take a fall.  

                  I really despise the trend towards sleazy, gossip-oriented, sensationalist tattling that passes for journalism in so many places these days.  This has contributed significantly to the dumbing-down of American public discourse, and we're in this mess in no small part because of this mental laziness.  Ultra-conservative intellectual thuggery overwhelmed more thoughtful, better-nuanced analysis right after 9/11 and into the Iraq war, just like it did all through Clinton's presidency.  Murdoch's been a driving force in this process.

                  So if he burns the financial tycoons in his new venture, no one will deserve it more if they all band together to shut him down.  The big question will be, would they do so?  How much cooperation and collaboration is there in the financial world at the uppermost levels?

                  Yet another thing to monitor....  /sigh  

                  "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                  by Noor B on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:29:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dabize, Noor B, pepper mint

                    ...I tend to agree except for one thing: these people, those more powerful than Murdoch, are in many ways more dangerous.  The best thing about them is that they tend to not act collectively and they tend to not try to test the limits of their power.

                    Murdoch may be evil, but money and its most powerful manipulators are something in some ways more frightening - amoral.  And while I don't like someone like Murdoch, who promulgates negative values, setting lose power which is disinterested in values entirely is a considerable threat as well.

                    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                    by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:35:42 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thanks for the clarification. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Jay Elias

                      I don't know much about that world, not being a Wall Street type.

                      I read your response to my comment as answering a question I didn't know enough to ask:  Do we want them to do so, would it be a good thing?  Your implicit answer looks like an unequivocal "No".

                      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                      by Noor B on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:54:49 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I left that world a long time ago... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Noor B

                        ...but not before understanding that the people in it could be very dangerous if they wanted to be.

                        That being said, I don't think my "no" is unequivocal.  But I do think that when powerful people have fights with very high stakes, the risks to bystanders are very high.

                        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                        by Jay Elias on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:59:47 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  why wouldn't he get away with it? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dabize, annefrank

                So far he has been able to pretty much do as he pleases.  Where is the brake on his pushing his own world view?
                With his billions, losing a few million a year actually makes business sense.  

          •  Hopefully, the saying, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Militarytracy

            "Only the good die young," doesn't apply here.  Otherwise this (insert your choice of expletives here) Murdoch will live until he's 200!

        •  don't think (3+ / 0-)

          don't think it is distortion you have to worry about. As with other apapers it is the editors you have to worry about. THEY choose what stories to run and what not to run. THEY shape the news everyday in this country.

          EX. IF wsj editors have 5 stories in front of them, 2 are favorable for the economy, and 3 are unfavorable outlooks, all at basically accurate, and the editors choose to run to 2 favorable stories nd thrash the 3 bad stories, how will anyone know.

          THIS IS THE DANGER we face with these media empires. Its is what we ARENT being told that is the problem.

          You don't need to distort facts, you can just withold them.

          Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

          by pissedpatriot on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:17:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The NYT says Murdoch will discount ads (0+ / 0-)

          revenue far below cost, initially, to drive out competition. Just as he always has done in the past.

          Murdoch will take incredible losses.  He wants to rule the world via his newspaper pulpits and he has rebuilt the empire upon which the sun never sets.

          He intends to bury the Gray Lady, and Bloomberg and the Financial Times.  Then we will only have the Fox "Business" Network.  

          Can you imagine a world with ONLY all Fox all the time?  Murdoch does.  Will he finish it before he dies?

          Supposedly, Murdoch has gained Wall Street readers with his "gossipy" New York Post.  Even Wall Street has its human side, I suppose.

          When he repurchased The New York Post in 1993, he focused on raising the paper’s circulation by cutting the cover price of the paper several times and handing out copies free.

          ...

          Mr. Murdoch believed that expanding the readership would allow him to take away advertisers from The New York Times and The Daily News. (He fought hard for readers on the news side, as well, turning the paper into a gossipy must-read for people on Wall Street, in fashion and in the media business.)

          And as The Post grew in circulation, Mr. Murdoch did not always increase the price of ads in the paper...

          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

          by bronte17 on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 12:50:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps. But those people who ... (6+ / 0-)

        ...read and believe the editorials (I used to know a few) seem as susceptible to propaganda as any creationist-backing thumper. I don't know what the demographics of most WSJ editorial readers vs. news page readers are, but I suspect there's a fair amount of overlap.

      •  And if it causes one to lose money (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andgarden

        just fergit that sh*t.

        In the Pajamahadeen I'm Scooby-Doo!

        by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:54:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Subtlety (0+ / 0-)

        is not Murdoch's forte.

        You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

        by Gentle Giant on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:26:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Some of the WSJ's non-business reporting is also (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phenry, Jay Elias, moosely2006

      top notch.  I guess I should say "was" top notch.

      Back in 2004, they confirmed the MSNBC story about the US losing bin Laden at Tora Bora before other major newspapers like the NY Times and the Wasington Post.

      RIP the Wall Street Journal.

      Maybe the NY Times can expand their business reporting?

      I'm not a member of an organized political party, I'm a Democrat - Will Rogers

      by newjeffct on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:27:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Therein lies the beauty. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonmug

      Murdoch will ruin the paper. I mean, would you buy a used car from that guy? He will be utterly incapable of separating his inner charlatan from the useful financial reportage the Journal exists because of. Anybody with real business interests will be quick to discount the frothing bounty of moron-chum that will begin to spew forth from its pages. The once proud institution will be likened to the penny stock email porn, but that you have to pay for it. Only the easily distracted, Murdoch's regular audience, will remain oblivious to the bait and switch. Oooh, look, shiny! With any luck, enough of them will flush themselves down the crapper clutching to Fox Business Channel's predictions that they will never breed.

    •  Oh, I dunno... (7+ / 0-)

      Maybe business reporting in this country could use a little of that Murdoch magic.

      Or maybe not.

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