The Wall Street Journal, almost from its beginning 125 years ago, has been one of the most highly respected dailies in the nation. As a devoted daily reader of the Journal, for at least half a century, I have increasingly come to respect the Journal for its balanced point of view.
Over this long stretch of time, the Journal has been owned by the Dow Jones company, which is dominated by the Bancroft family that controls 64% of the shares of Dow Jones.
It appears that, in terms of ownership, the Journal may shortly undergo a radical change. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has made a bid of $5 billion to take over Dow Jones. The Journal reports that “the Bancroft family would meet with Murdoch’s News Corp to discuss” the big bid.
In our day of mergers and acquisitions, what is going on in regard to Murdoch and the Journal may appear to be just another act in the ongoing show. But it may be more than that. Murdoch is more than just another journalistic entrepreneur. His publications champion an ultra-conservative point of view. The Journal is not unaware of this danger,
The Journal reports that the Bancroft family will meet with Murdoch’s News Corp. “to determine whether, in the context of the current or any modified News Corp. proposal, it will be possible to ensure the commitment to editorial independence, integrity, and journalistic freedom that is the hallmark of Dow Jones.”
But what if Murdoch says , “of course,” and then goes his merry way?