A wise man once said, “If you’re eating shit, it’s because you ordered it.”
And on that note, there is a peculiar sort of schadenfreude to watching the contortions of the Wall Street Journal and its boosters as that advocate of modern capitalism now faces the prospect of being, well, treated like any other commercial media property.
With Knight Ridder dismembered like a Thanksgiving turkey, with newsrooms across the nation paring down and shedding talent, with the rapacious pursuit of profitability emasculating our news media, all based on the presumptions of the Wall Street business model — suddenly we’re supposed to sympathize with this sad Dow Jones property because they’re about to get the same treatment they preach for the rest of the world?
Admittedly, it really is dire for the Journal. The chickens are coming home to roost — and the Godzilla of such fowl is Rupert Murdoch.
His free-market business practices are suddenly terrifying to the Wall Street Journal staff. They really don’t wanna be run by the man who gave the world Fox News, and are palpably afraid of what his M.O. would do to their journalistic standards.
Their fear is justifiable. The Journal is for the most part a terrific newspaper. A standard-bearer for depth, inquisitiveness and sobriety.
But it appears that even if the buyout doesn’t go through, the reporters and editors there have been cast out by their own.
That’s right. If Murdoch retreats, the Journal faces …
By the very people who founded it.
“WSJ newsroom faces big cuts if Murdoch bid falls through”
The New York Times, July 9, 2007
Personal message to The Wall Street Journal: EAT YOUR BEANS.
To the rest of the world: There’s something instructive in this little yarn … something, er, illuminating, about the problem of running a news organization as a for-profit, commercial outfit.
Don’t ya think?