14 July 2007
Rupert Murdoch wants to buy the WSJ. A lot of people are unhappy with that, for a lot of different reasons. Its been two and a half months now since the original offer (May 1) and there's no signed-and-sealed deal yet, so the forces of resistance to the feared Fox-ification of the WSJ are evidently having some impact. A retardant but likely not a brake.
My guess, in other words, is that the deal will go through. One odd recent twist was the report four days ago that Brad Greenspan and Ron Burkle are posing as white knights, talking about putting together an alternative offer. Burkle, a California-based supermarket magnate with ties to the Clinton family, may be interested in foiling a new growth spurt for the Murdoch/Fox empire. Or he may see the Dow Jones as a prize for himself. Or he may just be toying with the idea because he's a megalomanaic. Who knows these days?
Here's something I wrote about the Burkle-Clinton connection more than a year ago, on another incarnation of this blog.
So ... what's my point? Personally, I long for the days (though perhaps I view them through rose-tinted glasses) when newspapers were the property of men with distinctive outsized personalities, men who had perhaps memories of childhood toys named Rosebud. I long for those days not because those men were perfect (surely not!), but because the products of colorless homogenized bureaucratic corporations seem necessarily ... what's the word I want here ... bland.
I don't like bland with my news. Let's have a few more Hearsts, Pulitzers, and Colonel McCormicks in the world. Women as well as men next time around of course. The Wall Street Journal's recent business problems, the problems that have led it into "play" in the first place, are a part of that blandness. They need a personality at the helm.
Murdoch isn't the solution. He's manuveuring behind Fox here. Greenspan and Burkle? Ah, we might have something. Odd though they may be, and unlikely though their success here surely is, I think I've acquired a rooting interest in this fight.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.