Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do you read the Wall Street Journal?

I never have, but I am frequently told by people who do, even liberals or leftists, that there is a clear distinction between the Journal's right-wing editorial pages and it's balanced, objective news coverage.

No more.

According to a story in yesterday's Times,

The Journal’s top editor, picked Gerard Baker, a columnist for The Times of London, as his deputy managing editor. Mr. Baker is a former Washington bureau chief of The Financial Times with a great deal of expertise in the Beltway. The two men came of age in the more partisan milieu of British journalism.

According to several former members of the Washington bureau and two current ones, the two men have had a big impact on the paper’s Washington coverage, adopting a more conservative tone, and editing and headlining articles to reflect a chronic skepticism of the current administration.

I can't say I'm surprised. Truly, I was always skeptical of the idea that the Journal was a good, objective paper over the years. Now, with the takeover of the paper by Rupert Murdoch, there is no room for doubt.

Mr. Baker, a neoconservative columnist of acute political views, has been especially active in managing coverage in Washington, creating significant grumbling, if not resistance, from the staff there. Reporters say the coverage of the Obama administration is reflexively critical, the health care debate is generally framed in terms of costs rather than benefits — “health care reform” is a generally forbidden phrase — and global warming skeptics have gotten a steady ride.

Romenesko reprints the response from the editor of the Journal, but the perspicacious reader will spot a non-denial denial, no?

The news column by a Mr David Carr today is yet more evidence that The New York Times is uncomfortable about the rise of an increasingly successful rival while its own circulation and credibility are in retreat. The usual practice of quoting ex-employees was supplemented by a succession of anonymous quotes and unsubstantiated assertions. The attack follows the extraordinary actions of Mr Bill Keller, the Executive Editor, who, among other things, last year wrote personally and at length to a prize committee casting aspersions on Journal journalists and journalism. Whether it be in the quest for prizes or in the disparagement of competitors, principle is but a bystander at The New York Times.

If there were some inaccuracy in the Times story you'd think he'd point out where it is, wouldn't you?

That's what I thought.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where does this shit end? Can Murdoch take over every paper in the land? Being in the position to bend the truth in several venues does not actually alter the truth itself.

This is more sad than anything else.

December 16, 2009 9:42 PM  

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