First, the disclaimer: I appear on Fox News Channel, one of Rupert Murdoch's media properties, as a paid contributor. I received neither instructions, nor promises of benefits, in exchange for what I am about to write. We now rejoin our regularly scheduled column.
The grotesque amount of condescension from the elite media concerning the purchase of Dow Jones, which includes The Wall Street Journal, by "media mogul" Rupert Murdoch is astounding. You would think Hugo Chavez had just bought the newspaper with his oil money and announced an immediate tilt to the left. Come to think of it, the elites would not have found that as offensive, because America already has a national newspaper that mostly reflects Chavez's leftist views. It's called The New York Times.
In a nostalgic essay for The Washington Post, David Ignatius wrote about the good old days when he worked for the Journal and expense accounts were as liberal as some of the reporting. Ignatius claims - without proof - "that as the company's economic fortunes declined, so did some of its journalism" and that "The Journal's editorial page increasingly did its own reporting, with equal portions of journalistic hustle and ideological spin, and it often overshadowed the news side," which he suspects "helped undermine the franchise." He speculates, "Advertisers perhaps weren't enthralled with a newspaper distinguished by vitriolic right-wing attack editorials." Never mind that the editorial page editor during the period Ignatius regards as flawed - the late Robert Bartley - won a Pulitzer Prize.
Ignatius ignores the often vitriolic left-wing editorials and columns in The New York Times, a newspaper that has recently suffered from a decline in circulation - even in its core market - and been forced to lay-off staff. I suspect that under Murdoch's ownership, circulation of the Journal newspaper and its online edition will increase and more staffers will be hired, as is now happening with the Fox Business Channel, which is due to premiere in October.
Most of the elite media were of one mind (surprise!) when it came to Murdoch's acquisition of the Journal. NBC's Andrea Mitchell called him "a controversial press lord" and declared Murdoch "deeply conservative," which liberals intend as a slur only slightly less insulting than the label "deeply religious."