Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Murdoch's Bid Will Fire Up Dean & Kucinich

"I believe we need to re-regulate the media," Howard Dean blurted recently. He's probably really thinking it this morning when he unfolded his liberally biased Washingon Post to read of Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion bid to acquire Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Barrons and a number of other financial pubs.

I prefer to quote from the DJ publication, the WSJ:

Rupert Murdoch's surprise $5 billion bid for Dow Jones & Co. could put into play one of the nation's last family-controlled newspaper companies, raising the possibility of other bidders, from media companies to financial buyers to Internet giants.

News Corp.'s bid of $60 a share in cash, or a combination of cash and stock, is pitched at a price roughly 67% above the recent market value of Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal and a number of financial-information businesses. The offer puts a large premium on the publisher at a time when most newspaper companies are losing readers and advertisers to the Internet.
It's easy to see why Murdoch would want Dow Jones. He's launching a Fox Business channel to compete against MSNBC and Bloomberg and owning the DJ's many business publishing properties would give him the instantly superior content. He likes business and DJ's all business. And he likes the WSJ editorial line.

A marriage made in heaven ... unless you're a Dem.

Already stressing about the ability of Fox and conservative talk radio to reach intelligent high-propensity voters at a scale far greater than their drop in the media bucket size, Dean, Kucinich and company will get the heebie jeebies all over when they think of Murdoch adding the nation's premier business powerhouse, with the best conservative editorial page going, to his collection.

Murdoch's' timing couldn't be worse. The Dems have already submitted bills to repeal the Fairness Doctrine, which so graciously dumped by Ronald Reagan, and now all they'll have to do is shout "Fox News!" as a punctuation to their rants about Rush and the rest, and the Left will rally to a new cause. So what if the cause represses the free speech and freedom they supposedly hold dear?

The Bancroft family, which own most of the DJ shares and can turn out over 50% of the vote with it's super-voting super-shares, is reportedly not interested in selling -- so Murdoch is likely to create a Fairness Doctrine tempest and leave the table with an empty teapot.

Does anyone remember life under the Fairness Doctrine any more? Just think, "Jane, you ignorant slut." The Ackroyd/Curtain SNL skit was based on TV editorializing at the time, when the station owner's guy would opine the "legit" opinion and some counter-thinking hack would come back with 20 or 30 seconds on the other side.

It was appalling and useless.

That wasn't even fine for the time, when there were no options to the three networks, PBS and a few local market independents. Now there are options aplenty and opinions overflowing, so the public has no need for Congress to mandate how they'll get their opposing view.

Besides, when was the last time you heard a network news station give an editorial opinion in editorial opinion dressing? They don't do it anymore; rather it permiates their broadcasts with shades of bias and slant. Liberal Congress will look at them and say there's no editorializing going on, so no counter-position is necessary.

But they'll look at Fox and holler foul, and they'll look at conservative talk radio and want to kill it with a thousand Allan Colmes'.

Murdoch's bid -- while interesting, especially in light of the relative lack of interest in the Chicago Trib and LAT -- couldn't have worse timing. Let's hope the Bancrofts quickly kill it, removing fodder from the liberal unfairness machine.

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