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Archive for Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Murdoch may be media’s savior, not Satan

August 8, 2007

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First, the disclaimer: I appear on Fox News Channel, one of Rupert Murdoch's media properties, as a paid contributor. I received neither instructions, nor promises of benefits, in exchange for what I am about to write. We now rejoin our regularly scheduled column.

The grotesque amount of condescension from the elite media concerning the purchase of Dow Jones, which includes The Wall Street Journal, by "media mogul" Rupert Murdoch is astounding. You would think Hugo Chavez had just bought the newspaper with his oil money and announced an immediate tilt to the left. Come to think of it, the elites would not have found that as offensive, because America already has a national newspaper that mostly reflects Chavez's leftist views. It's called The New York Times.

In a nostalgic essay for The Washington Post, David Ignatius wrote about the good old days when he worked for the Journal and expense accounts were as liberal as some of the reporting. Ignatius claims - without proof - "that as the company's economic fortunes declined, so did some of its journalism" and that "The Journal's editorial page increasingly did its own reporting, with equal portions of journalistic hustle and ideological spin, and it often overshadowed the news side," which he suspects "helped undermine the franchise." He speculates, "Advertisers : perhaps weren't enthralled with a newspaper distinguished by vitriolic right-wing attack editorials." Never mind that the editorial page editor during the period Ignatius regards as flawed - the late Robert Bartley - won a Pulitzer Prize.

Ignatius ignores the often vitriolic left-wing editorials and columns in The New York Times, a newspaper that has recently suffered from a decline in circulation - even in its core market - and been forced to lay off staff. I suspect that under Murdoch's ownership, circulation of the Journal newspaper and its online edition will increase and more staffers will be hired, as is now happening with the Fox Business Channel, which is due to premiere in October.

Most of the elite media were of one mind (surprise!) when it came to Murdoch's acquisition of the Journal. NBC's Andrea Mitchell called him "a controversial press lord" and declared Murdoch "deeply conservative," which liberals intend as a slur only slightly less insulting than the label "deeply religious."

The New Yorker's Ken Auletta claimed Murdoch "often" uses "his publications and his media to advance his business or his political interests." Imagine that! The views of New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., can be read in his newspaper, which consistently promotes policies and people he favors. When you're a liberal, this is regarded by the elites as "good journalism." When you have a different point of view, you are engaging in propaganda and serving only yourself and your interests.

The elite media have been beating up on Rupert Murdoch for years, when they ought to have been addressing the cause of their own decline. Instead, they preferred to indulge in paranoia and denial.

The attacks on Murdoch began in earnest just four months after the debut of the Fox News Channel. In a transcript provided by the Media Research Center of a Jan. 19, 1997, "60 Minutes" broadcast on CBS, Mike Wallace warned ominously that "on Murdoch's new cable channel the news comes with a conservative spin." Whom did Wallace cite as his expert authority? None other than CNN founder Ted Turner, who regularly promoted his left-wing views about the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro and other dictators, high taxes, big government, Democrats and environmental activism when he owned and ran that network.

Before Fox News Channel was born, I met with several network news presidents, telling them that someone was going to go after a demographic that felt shut out by the mainstream media. These people, I said, go to church, fly the flag, respect the nation's traditions and institutions and hate the liberal media. They feel censored, or stereotyped, by the media elites. I told them the person who recognizes that demographic and gives them a voice would reap a huge reward.

That person is Rupert Murdoch. He is not the media Satan, as the left likes to portray him. Some of the offensive (to me) tabloid stuff notwithstanding, he just may be the media's savior. The elites hate him, but growing numbers of people are buying his products.

- Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Comments

Manslagt 6 years, 8 months ago

scenebooster:

"Which is exactly what you did by claiming "liberal bias" and pointing to the NYT's Public Editor!!!"

No it's not. "Public Editor" is just another name for "ombudsman." An "ombudsman" is "one that investigates complaints, as from consumers, reports findings, and assists in achieving fair settlements."

The NYT's public editor received complaints about his newspaper having a liberal bias, investigated those complaints, and reported the findings, which in this case showed that the complaints had merit.

Okay, now it's your turn. Show us where a Fox news anchor has presented opinions as facts.

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

"Ah, the Daily Howler. Of course, there's no bias there at all. After all, it's only run by Algore's failed comedian buddy, so it just has to be absolutely neutral."

See, here's the thing. I posted the Daily Howler piece for a reason: If the MRC is "credible", then so is Howler, MoveOn, etc.

It seems you guys are happy to accept propaganda at face value, as long as it says what you want to hear.

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jonas 6 years, 8 months ago

"These people, I said, go to church, fly the flag, respect the nation's traditions and institutions and hate the liberal media. They feel censored, or stereotyped, by the media elites."

But it's okay when you stereotype them, Cal?

God, what a tool this man is.

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Pilgrim 6 years, 8 months ago

scenebooster (Anonymous) says:

This piece from the Daily Howler digs in deeper than I have time to:


Ah, the Daily Howler. Of course, there's no bias there at all. After all, it's only run by Algore's failed comedian buddy, so it just has to be absolutely neutral.

As if...

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Pilgrim 6 years, 8 months ago

You know what I love in all of this? Until Murdoch came along, the looney left would list the WSJ as a "conservative" paper, just as the NYT and LAT are liberal. Now, all of a sudden, Murdoch is allegedly going to ruin the "balance" of the WSJ.

But wait! If the WSJ was conservative before, and it's going to be conservative now that Murdoch owns it, what's different?

Answer: Nothing.

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Pilgrim 6 years, 8 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:

Cal Thomas is a facist religious right thinker:something we must keep in mind:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?s:


And you expect us to accept either your or democracynow's definition of a fascist, Richard?

ROFL!

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Tychoman 6 years, 8 months ago

Scenebooster you're one of the few posters who make me genuinely laugh out loud. Thanks man.

Manslagt=Arminius, and he hasn't even mentioned Clinton yet? I think Scene's head is going to explode again.

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 8 months ago

Does cynical ever write in complete sentences? Talk like Ruski.....

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cynical 6 years, 8 months ago

Shall we start a pool on how long Kevin lasts this time? Really on roll, 19 posts today, first day back.

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

"When you cited Bill O'Reilly, you essentially did what scenebooster accused conservartives of, i.e., confusing editorial content with news."

Which is exactly what you did by claiming "liberal bias" and pointing to the NYT's Public Editor!!!

head explodes

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chet_larock 6 years, 8 months ago

"Oh, look, ferd's back. Simply amazing."

I was just starting to enjoy these forums again after I had noticed he had been booted. How unfortunate that one person can hijack discussions and turn these threads into utter crap.

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Defender 6 years, 8 months ago

WOW!! Arminius is back already?!?!? How many times are you going to get kicked off here?

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ndmoderate 6 years, 8 months ago

Oh, look, ferd's back. Simply amazing.

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

"So you place the NYT's public editor on the same level as MoveOn.org? I think you're making our argument for us."

Um, no, I don't, and no, I didn't.

Mr. Okrent is the pubic editor: "The public editor is the readers' representative. His opinions and conclusions are his own." It is absolutely an "opinion piece" i.e. editorial. We've been through this, yes?

This piece from the Daily Howler digs in deeper than I have time to:

http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh072604.shtml

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chet_larock 6 years, 8 months ago

If they want to keep coming back and making this forum about how much more they think they know than anyone else, they need to get a life. Especially when so much of what they "know" is informed by an extremely partisan agenda. I hate to think of how miserable their life must be when they use an internet forum as a way to prove how "smart" they are to themselves by claiming all they are doing is using a little knowledge and "common sense". We all know who they are. And now we know why they are here. Their life must be so unenjoyable, the only happiness they must get in their life is being a ultra-conservative know-it-all to the point where they are continously being kicked off for violating usage policies.

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75x55 6 years, 8 months ago

Cal .... a fascist?

I didn't know he supported socialism! Darn those sneaky socialists for fooling us again and again....

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Manslagt 6 years, 8 months ago

chet:

When you cited Bill O'Reilly, you essentially did what scenebooster accused conservartives of, i.e., confusing editorial content with news. O'Reilly expresses opinions. He is not a news anchor. It would be like me accusing MSNBC of having a liberal bias by pointing only to Keith Olberman.

As far as the other examples, you cannot cite a neutral source to confirm your Chris Wallace quote. The Murdoch quote does not express a conservative bias. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I assume that liberals would also like to see democracy spread in the Middle East. And let's not forget that Murdoch held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, not exactly a darling of the conservative movement. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/09/politics/main1600694.shtml

(BTW, Murdoch is closer to the center than Ted Turner was when he headed up CNN.)

"Read Ag's links for more examples, please."

So you liberals won't accept TimesWatch as credible, but you say I should read Ag's links, which include Think Progress and FAIR? Talk about predictable!

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Agnostick 6 years, 8 months ago

"Anyway, how'd I know that's the argument you'd come back with? And how are you so predictable after not even being on here a whole day?"


Uuuhhhmmmmmm... 'cause new user IDs are cheap, easy, and plentiful?

Especially when it's the same claptrap over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again........?

--Ag

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Manslagt 6 years, 8 months ago

scenebooster:

"Where? You "say" it's been done:OK, I'll just post a bunch of MoveOn.org opinion and you'll accept that at face value? BS:"

So you place the NYT's public editor on the same level as MoveOn.org? I think you're making our argument for us.

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

"That's been done already. "

Where? You "say" it's been done...OK, I'll just post a bunch of MoveOn.org opinion and you'll accept that at face value? BS...

"Come on Scenebooster, let's just say we agree to disagree. "

Um, no, R_T. You are unable to cite any serious example of "liberal bias" at the NYT. The "articles" in the TimesWatch link are retarded...look at the second item about John Burns:

"NYT's Baghdad Bureau Chief: "No Doubt" Surge Making Life Better in Iraq "

They spin the piece six ways from sunday, twisting Burn's own words, and the headline makes the exact OPPOSITE point that Burn's interview makes. It'd be laughable if these people weren't serious.

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chet_larock 6 years, 8 months ago

"manslagt":

"Bill O'Reilly is not a news anchor at Fox. He has an opinion show."

Touted as the "No Spin Zone". Tell me what the above example is.

Rupert Murdoch is not an anchor on Fox, either.

Read Ag's links for more examples, please.

Anyway, how'd I know that's the argument you'd come back with? And how are you so predictable after not even being on here a whole day?

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 8 months ago

"You say "my turn" when R_T hasn't had "his turn" yet." -SB

That just sounds sort of nasty.

Come on Scenebooster, let's just say we agree to disagree. The attack on FNC is almost an indictment itself on the New York liberal media scene, the Gray Lady being at the epicenter---that's what this all about my esteemed LJW web logger.

They've ID'ed a problem themselves:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1480321,00.html

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Manslagt 6 years, 8 months ago

chet:

Bill O'Reilly is not a news anchor at Fox. He has an opinion show.

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Manslagt 6 years, 8 months ago

scenebooster:

"As for Fox citations, I'll gladly comply:just as soon as I see a specific example of "liberal bias" from the NYT."

That's been done already. Not only did TimesWatch give specific examples, but the NYT's own public editor gave specific examples of liberal bias at his own newspaper. And he wasn't referring to the paper's editorial page. Now it's your turn.

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chet_larock 6 years, 8 months ago

June 3, 2004, Bill O'Reilly's comment for the day started with "Hi. I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. Another victory for the ACLU in its war on Christianity." His comment was about how the American Civil Liberties Union was able to get the cross removed from the county seal of Los Angeles and, says O'Reilly, the ACLU is "part of the anti-Christian cabal in America that sees the Christian majority as oppressors." That day, actually, Fox aired three other commentary-style reports about the case all accusing the ACLU of hating Christians. Fox News Channel broadcasts failed to mention the ACLU's involvement in Michigan where the group sued on behalf of a Baptist minister who was unconstitutionally denied a permit to conduct baptisms at a lake operated by the Department of Natural Resources. The ACLU has also joined The Christian Defense Coalition in Virginia in a similar case.

Fox admitted they were shills for the GOP on election night when Chris Wallace said "looks like we've lost the Senate too."

"Asked if his News Corp. managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq, Murdoch said: "No, I don't think so. We tried." Asked by Rose for further comment, he said: "We basically supported the Bush policy in the Middle East...but we have been very critical of his execution."

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

"TimesWatch gave specific examples of liberal bias at the NYT. You cannot merely dismiss them as "not credible" simply because it's a project of MRC. "

Those "specific examples" are opinion pieces. How on earth is that a credible argument? There is no difference in credibility between MRC and MoveOn.org. If I start posting opinion pieces form MoveOn.org are you going to accept those as "news"?

Of course one can dismiss a source that makes no bones about its partisan goals.

Geez, are you totally new to this?

As for Fox citations, I'll gladly comply...just as soon as I see a specific example of "liberal bias" from the NYT. You say "my turn" when R_T hasn't had "his turn" yet.

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Manslagt 6 years, 8 months ago

merrill:

"Cal Thomas is a facist religious right thinker:something we must keep in mind."

Of course, you're aware of the fact that John Pilger's comments about the media were delivered at the Socialist Workers' convention, aren't you?

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Manslagt 6 years, 8 months ago

scenebooster:

"R_T, posting a link to TimesWatch, a project of MRC, is akin to me posting something from MoveOn.org - it's highly partisan and not credible."

That's an extremely weak argument. TimesWatch gave specific examples of liberal bias at the NYT. You cannot merely dismiss them as "not credible" simply because it's a project of MRC. That's a cop out. In any case, the NYT's own public editor admitted that his paper had a liberal bias. Don't have a stroke trying to argue that the NYT has no credibility. http://www.timeswatch.org/articles/2004/0726.asp

"Fox, on the other hand, presents opinion as fact."

Your turn. Give us an example of a Fox news anchor presenting opinion as fact.

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Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Cal Thomas is a facist religious right thinker...something we must keep in mind:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/07/130258

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

R_T, they aren't articles at all. They are opinion pieces by two guys from the Media Research Center.

That's all you've got? I thought this "bias" was rampant and ruining the country...

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 8 months ago

I gave the link to you, those were not fabricated articles, Scene, they're simply c/p'd on the site---read 'em. And furthermore, my freind, you'll just not see the bias anyway, and I understand.

Everyone knows the LAT and the NYT are the two biggest liberal ran papers in the nation.

Like it says in the site banner "...documenting and exposing..."

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chet_larock 6 years, 8 months ago

Myname, you make a great point about regarding Murdoch not necessarily trying to dramatically change the WSJ. He's a shrewd enough businessman to know where that publication's bread is buttered.

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

And still I wait...boy, this "liberal bias" at the NYT must be a well kept secret...wait, the right brings it up all the time...where is it, folks?

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MyName 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm not really worried about Murdoch ruining the objective journalism at the WSJ, mainly because if he tried to turn it into the NY Post he'd lose 50% of his subsription base within a month. For better or worse, the WSJ is the financial newspaper of record for this country and only a complete fool would do anything to harm that.

That being said, I don't see how anybody can think that it is a good thing that this one company is now has another outlet with which to further its corporate political agenda. Any corporation that gets control of this much of its marketshare is bound to do something dangerous and stupid over a long enough timeline. This move is bad for the American readership and I can only expect it to hasten the death of the printed newspaper in favor of online reporting.

Oh, and expect the editorial pages to become even less in touch with reality than a Cal Thomas article. Why this hack expects to have any credibility left after carrying water for Murdoch is beyone me.

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

Still waiting for a specific example of NYT's liberal bias....

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

"NYT columnists are for the most part dyed in the wool President Bush haters like Rich and Dowd:.they set the tone for NYT among all the slanted news."

See, here it is again. The wingers just cannot seem to grasp that the editorial dept does not have anything to do with the news dept. They are separate entities.

I know this is hard to grasp, summers_eve.

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jonas 6 years, 8 months ago

How did I just read this article and know it was written by Cal Thomas? Oh yeah, because he's a formulaic egghead with nothing original to say. Next.

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Summers_Eve 6 years, 8 months ago

NYT columnists are for the most part dyed in the wool President Bush haters like Rich and Dowd....they set the tone for NYT among all the slanted news. I used to read it but not anymore. They're readership is down of late significantly. They are worried, like the liberal mainstream media is all worried because they have a challenger to their bias and propaganda operations.

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

R_T, posting a link to TimesWatch, a project of MRC, is akin to me posting something from MoveOn.org - it's highly partisan and not credible.

I'll await for a specific example of "liberal bias" from the NYT - so far all you can come up with is story placement? And no example of this horrible "placement" problem?

If bias is so rampant at NYT, it should be easy enough to document, no?

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Agnostick 6 years, 8 months ago

right_thinker is obviously reading things that just aren't there... or isn't reading at all..

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org

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ndmoderate 6 years, 8 months ago

Just want to make sure I get this straight:

Wingnuts are allowed to have their boogeymen (NYT, Soros, the word "liberal," and the "elitist" media).

But liberals and even moderates are NOT allowed to have their boogeymen (Fixed News Channel, Murdoch, Religious Wrong).

OK. Nothin' to see here folks, just move along...

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Agnostick 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 8 months ago

www.timeswatch.org

Also, re; the NYT, it's not always what you say, but what you don't say---or where you say it, ie, burying stories.

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The_Original_Bob 6 years, 8 months ago

"Murdoch may be media's savior, not Satan"

Wait, Satan is media's savior?

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bugmenot 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, Murdoch is a class act. O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It," for example. I'll be glad to see stuff like that in WSJ. Granted, WSJ's editorial page won't change, but they had some good fiscally conservative econ and business articles. Couple their approach to economics with NYT's editorial and news pages, and I was happy. Now, looks like I'll look elsewhere for good, honest commentary on the news. I assume within two weeks WSJ will regularly feature full color photos of and updates on celebutantes like Paris Hilton.

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 8 months ago

Ag is right, really, FNC has been beating the 'liberal biased media' drum for a long time. I think this is a healthy shake up and they all (all the networks) should shape up and be glad they have a job. They asked for it----let the games begin. Love it!

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scenebooster 6 years, 8 months ago

The New York Times is one of the most venerable papers in the world. The only place that any "left-ward tilt" is apparent is...drum roll, please...the EDITORIAL page.

Do you understand what the word "editorial" means? It's clearly labeled opinion.

Fox, on the other hand, presents opinion as fact. Can you see the difference?

Just as the Wall St. Journal's editorial page leans right-ward, the rest of the paper is a reliably good paper. Just like the Times.

Here's a quick challange for the wingers. Show me a story from the NYT, other than an editorial, that shows "liberal bias".

I'll wait.

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Speakout 6 years, 8 months ago

"Fair and Balanced"? what a laugh.

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Agnostick 6 years, 8 months ago

"Most of the elite media were of one mind (surprise!) when it came to Murdoch's acquisition of the Journal. NBC's Andrea Mitchell called him "a controversial press lord" and declared Murdoch 'deeply conservative,' which liberals intend as a slur only slightly less insulting than the label 'deeply religious...'

"When you're a liberal, this is regarded by the elites as "good journalism." When you have a different point of view, you are engaging in propaganda and serving only yourself and your interests..."


Ah, the irony.

Ah, the hypocrisy.

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 8 months ago

Liberals don't see the liberal slant, fair enough. I view FNC as right-leaning....they are.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 8 months ago

The only potential saving grace for journalism w/regard to Murdoch is that he'll do whatever will make him a buck or a billion. That might include good journalism, but up to now, standards of journalism have been very low in everything he's touched, showing an obvious preference towards propaganda, uncritical nationalism and sensationalism (which as Cal points, do sell ads, his only real concern.)

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logicsound04 6 years, 8 months ago

"because America already has a national newspaper that mostly reflects Chavez's leftist views. It's called The New York Times."

"Most of the elite media were of one mind (surprise!) when it came to Murdoch's acquisition of the Journal."

"When you're a liberal, this is regarded by the elites as "good journalism." When you have a different point of view, you are engaging in propaganda and serving only yourself and your interests."


Uuhhhhhh, Ooooo-kaaaaay Cal.

And liberals supposedly have the market cornered on tinfoil hats.

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Tychoman 6 years, 8 months ago

There is no liberal media, Cal Thomas is scratching for anything to write about, he's so desperate. I wish the LJWorld would go ahead and drop his column, he hasn't written anything of value since......well, ever.

It's okay, Mr. Thomas, reality has a liberal bias. Regardless of a D or R in front of the White House, the media would be just as critical if the administration were that bad--and this one IS.

Left-wing spin on the Soviet Union? Environmental activism? God forbid.

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jmadison 6 years, 8 months ago

Dow Jones Co in the end awarded its stockholders. The NY Times which had a majority of the Class B stockholders have not been so fortunate. The Sulzberger clan which has a death hold on the NY Times company overall, has refused to consider change in ownership, even though the current publisher, a Sulzberger, has been driving the company into the ground with declining circulation and idiotic investments --i.e. the Boston Globe, for which the NYT company has taken a complete write down.

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