Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and the First Rule of Holes

If you’re writing editorials for a formerly respectable newspaper tarnished by its acquisition by Rupert Murdoch’s criminal empire, writing a fully Murdochized editorial on the subject is probably a bad move.

If you’re writing editorials for a formerly respectable newspaper tarnished by its acquisition by Rupert Murdoch’s criminal empire, writing a fully Murdochized editorial on the subject is probably a bad move.

Meanwhile, the Guardian editor who broke the story explains how it was done, and in the process explains how frightening it is to live under the domination of a tyrant press lord.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and the First Rule of Holes”

  1. This sordid affair is playing like a sequel to Norris’ OCTOPUS – virtually 100 years coming! Instead of wheat, we have information; and instead of the railroad, we have Murdoch!

    Murdoch’s willingness to crush others while greedily pursuing info-profits speaks in parallel volume to Pacific and Southwestern rail’s wonton efforts to greedily extract all it could from San Joaquin farmers in its “business” relationship with them.

    As per the Guardian link – it does take a Herculean effort to eventually speak truth to entrenched and well positioned power! Bravo to those reporters’ tenacity!

  2. Paul Campos, at Lawyers, Guns and Money, point to this report in the Guardian on the “unexplained” death of Sean Hoare: News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead.  You have to read carefully through the thoroughly conventional crime-reporting to find this odd paragraph:

    [Hoare] also said he had been injured the previous weekend while taking down a marquee erected for a children’s party. He said he had broken his nose and badly injured his foot when a relative accidentally struck him with a heavy pole from the marquee.

  3. Like all WSJ editorials, it was written for the faithful. It’s intended to solidify resolve and arouse passion, not to persuade.

  4. Note that the casualties include the Press Commission, the British press regulator, which earlier endorsed the NOTW’s (lying) “one rotten apple” defence. (The Newsweek article page 2)

  5. Note the blatant unprofessionalism of The Guardian, which despite its own exclusive knowledge of Murdoch’s wrongdoing, chose to give up its exclusive to the New York Times in order to pursue its conspiracy against News Corp.

    I thought I’d better try elsewhere to stop the story from dying on its feet, except in the incremental stories that Nick was still remorselessly producing for our own pages. I called Bill Keller at The New York Times. Within a few days, three Times reporters were sitting in a rather charmless Guardian meeting room as Davies did his best to coach them in the basics of the story that had taken him years to tease out of numerous reporters, lawyers, and police officers.

    Thank God The Guardian – like Murdoch – doesn’t feel constrained by conventional journalism “ethics,” and was willing to tip off another news organization for the sole purpose of swaying public opinion.

  6. Huh? How is it unethical? Maybe a market blunder but unethical? Also, I think they were prohibited by British law from breaking that part of the story, IIRC. If so, then complying with the law would be quite ethical.

    “conspiracy against News Corp.” Wow, that is rich. FYI: co-operation != conspiracy.

  7. Tim, politicalfootball is clearly a political sports fan: any call that goes against his team is a bad call.

  8. Huh. I guess my little satire wasn’t very clear. The fact that I was satirizing neither Murdoch nor the Guardian made the message a little tough to convey, I guess.

    I was aiming to mock “media criticism” of the sort that demands that liberal media not consider themselves public actors in the same way that, say, Fox News is. In the U.S., a deliberate attempt to whip up public sympathy for a particular viewpoint would be widely seen as unethical were it done by, say, the NYT.

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