Edward Wasserman, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Cal-Berkeley, is a regular contributor to the Miami Herald, and other McClatchy Newspapers. His focus is generally toward Ethics in Journalism. The linked column, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/02/v-print/3426910/when-ideological-warriors-join.html, describes the concerns of many with regard to the efforts of David and Charles Koch, the fifth and sixth wealthiest men in the World, to buy the Tribune News Corp.
It remains unclear as to exactly which of the Tribune newspapers would be included in the deal; however, eight major newspapers are thought to be involved, to include the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and, perhaps, five others–to include two in Florida (in Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando)–and Hoy, the second largest Spanish-Language newspaper. Additionally, some 23 broadcast and on-line media outlets would be included, as well. There have been protests in virtually every city that is in danger of having one or more of its major media outlets taken over by the Koch Brothers.
The concern here is that the Brothers will try to shape the “News” to conform to their ideological viewpoints. Although that might have always been an element behind media purchases, if has certainly gotten worse since the Supreme Court opened the way for significant consolidation of many assets, within both print and broadcast–and now on-line. We have seen the results of such concentration quite recently.
Just consider Mr. Rupert Murdoch, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of global news media giant, News Corp. During 2011, there was a telephone hacking scandal in the U.K., in which a number of senior editors were implicated. The linked piece, from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, cites Mr. Murdoch as having “overall operational responsibility”, http://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/2011/07/20/why-murdoch-is-responsible-for-phone-hacking-scandal/. In essence, he created a workplace environment where such behavior was called for, encouraged or tolerated.
And, it doesn’t stop there. In the linked article, from The Guardian, UK, Ed Pilkington reports that there might have been hacking in the US, as well, http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/317-65/11048-fox-news-may-be-implicated-in-murdoch-hacking-scandal. Further, the two lawyers, who are working together on the hacking scandal, from London and New York, have revealed that some FOX “News” journalists might have been implicated, perhaps not in phone hacking; but in other “untoward dark arts” to obtain information that should be private.
This linked article, by Dean Starkman, in the Columbia Journalism Review is quite interesting, and it seems to go along with the management style of Rupert Murdoch, http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/exclusive_the_gestation_period.php?page=all&print=true.
I used to subscribe to the on-line Wall Street Journal; however, some years back, perhaps that’s when News Corp. bought it, I noticed that it had deteriorated and, I believe, emphasized certain interpretations, more so than before. So, I cancelled.
Now, reflecting back on David and Charles Koch, two multi-billionaires whose $34 billion fortunes came from Koch Industries, which they inherited from their Father. Their corporation is primarily engaged in energy and chemicals, and has some pipeline and manufacturing interests; but, there doesn’t appear to have ever been any media components in their empire.
Also, given their considerable financial support to Ultra “Right” candidates and causes, I can only believe that they have ulterior motives–based on their ideological and, perhaps, financial interests. For instance, many of Mitt Romney’s ideas would have resulted in a tremendously advantageous pay-day for the Uber Wealthy, people who just happened to contribute mega-bucks to his Presidential Election Campaign.
The Memo from the Wall Street Journal, linked in the above article, just about sums up News Corp.’s views, http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/exclusive_the_wall_street_jour.php?page=all&print=true. Rupert Murdock wished to shun the talented reporters, by cutting pay, and micro-managing them to report the story the fastest, while de-emphasizing accuracy. Have the Koch Brothers been studying News Corp’s Play-Book?