What is one to make of the news that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. wants to buy Dow Jones? A decade or two ago everybody would have called it a travesty, of course. But lately Murdoch has come to look like the media titan with by far the longest view. He certainly shouldn’t be expected to go in and tear apart the company or its crown jewel, The Wall Street Journal. He’s been willing to stick it out at much more troubled newspapers than that.
Then there’s Murdoch’s politics. It’s not like he’s going to make the Journal editorial page any more right-wing than it already is. I guess one could worry that he might mess untowardly with the paper’s news pages. But then one could worry about most anything.
The more interesting question may be whether, with control of so many of the nation’s major conservative media voices (Fox News, the New York Post, the Weekly Standard, and now possibly the editorialistas of the WSJ), Murdoch will now pull the same kind of shocker he did in the UK a decade ago — when his Sun dumped the Tories for Tony Blair — and switch his properties’ allegiance to Hillary Clinton.
Update: My fellow Time newbie David von Drehle has a smarter take on this than I do. Dow Jones staffers aren’t happy about the prospect of Murdochization. The Bancroft family says it doesn’t want to sell. And investor Michael Price, one of several people who tried to put Dow Jones in play a decade ago, has been talking up the idea of a Bloomberg bid for Dow Jones lately, I’m told.