The Wall Street Journal may not be a perfect newspaper, but its news pages consistently run counter to its economic interests—that is, if the paper can bruise or bloody a misbehaving or corrupt business with a well-reported story, it does. The same goes for advertisers.
The same can't be said for Rupert Murdoch, whose $5 billion offer for Dow Jones, which owns the Journal, seems unstoppable. I essayed on this topic yesterday and return today with another eight reasons Wall Street Journal readers can't trust Murdoch to operate our favorite business daily.
Rupe Kowtows to the Chinese (Part I). In 1993, Murdoch's News Corp. acquired the satellite broadcaster Star TV, which beams its signal into China and other Asian nations. At the time, Star TV carried the BBC's World Service, which displeased Chinese authorities because they disliked its news coverage of China. After they complained to Murdoch, he dropped the BBC from Star.
A June 14, 1994, story in the Wall Street Journal reported:
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., despite earlier denials by his media companies, has acknowledged months after the fact that he yanked British Broadcasting Corp. news from his satellite television service in northern Asia in hopes of soothing bad relations with China.
Rupe Kowtows to the Chinese (Part II). In 1993, Murdoch sold his interest in the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post to the Beijing-friendly Robert Kuok Hock Nien. The Sept. 13, 1993, Wall Street Journal reported:
The change of control of the South China Morning Post has sparked concern among some people in Hong Kong that the newspaper may lose its pro-British stance. Mr. Kuok is widely viewed as sympathetic to Beijing, which is set to regain sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997.
Rupe Kowtows to the Chinese (Part III). In 1998, News Corp.'s book division, HarperCollins, killed a book it had contracted for by former Hong Kong Gov. Chris Patten because it was critical of Chinese officials. Murdoch told the Times of London, which he owns, that the blame belonged to HarperCollins executives who "screwed it up."
The March 9, 1998, Wall Street Journal reported:
Critics have accused Mr. Murdoch, News Corp.'s chairman, of opposing the book, which is expected to be critical of China, because it threatened the company's business interests in that country.
"There are no winners or losers in the current controversy; mistakes have been made and we all share the responsibility," Mr. Murdoch said Friday.