May 1, 2007, - 5:57 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Sorry, but I’m not among those many conservatives celebrating a false victory–Rupert Murdoch’s seemingly unbeatable bid to buy the Wall Street Journal, announced today.
First of all, the Journal is not so liberal that it needed to be acquired by News Corp. It’s reporting is fairly balanced, though not always. And it’s op-ed page is the same. The only thing that’s very ideological is the editorial page, which is quite conservative (but for its absurd open borders stance on immigration). And so there’s no reason I see a need for Murdoch & Company to acquire what is already a fine operation. If he were acquiring the New York Times or Washington Post, that would be a different story.
Then, there’s the nagging problem of billionaire Saudi Prince AlWaleed Bin Talal. He already owns upwards of 6% of News Corp (his original ownership was 5.46% of NewsCorp stock, but he has reportedly since acquired far more of an ownership stake). And he’s bragged that he used his part ownership to change FOX News Channel coverage to be more favorable to Muslim terrorists. During the ever regenerated Muslim riots in France, FOX News at first referred to them as what they were “Muslim riots.” But AlWaleed got mad and made a single phone call. Immediately the description was changed to “civil riots.”
As reported in The Guardian of the UK, he told Campaign Middle East magazine:
I picked up the phone and called Murdoch and said that I was speaking not as a shareholder, but as a viewer of Fox. I said that these are not Muslim riots, they are riots. He investigated the matter and called Fox and within half an hour it was changed from “Muslim riots” to “civil riots”.
I don’t know about you, but as a viewer of FOX News (and sometimes on-air interviewee), I can’t get Rupert Murdoch on the phone, much less get him to change network editorial policy within a half hour. And they were Muslim riots. They weren’t Catholic or Jewish riots (though, those two groups comprised a great deal of the victims.) There was nothing “civil” about them.
What will happen in the likelihood that Murdoch, through NewsCorp, acquires the Wall Street Journal–the editorial pages of which have been spot-on about Islam, terrorism, Israel, and the Mid-East? When Prince AlWaleed doesn’t like something–and that’s a certainty, given the Journal’s accurate views on these issues–will a phone call from him lead to a swift change? Based on the FOX News Channel example, that’s a big YES. And a big no-no for those who are cheering on this acquisition.
But, as we know, Prince AlWaleed likes to throw money around to change policy. He tried that–unsuccessfully–when, after 9/11, he waved a $10 million check in front of Giuliani in exchange for “policy changes” toward the Mid-East (translation: shunning Israel in favor of Islamists like the ones who just flew into the Towers). Giuliani told him where to go . . . and it wasn’t for lunch at Jean George.
But Rudy has principles and courage, not a bottom line. And, unfortunately, though he is a billionaire, Rupert Murdoch does have a bottom line and key investors. And one of his most key investors, these days, is Prince AlWaleed. And, unfortunately, Murdoch will never have the urge to tell him where to key a la Rudy Giuliani.
Pray that the Prince doesn’t bring editorial changes for the Wall Street Journal. But don’t bet against him.
“Fair and Balanced” is not a part of the Saudi Prince’s investment portfolio . . . or his ideological demands.
Tags: Alwaleed Ownership, Debbie Schlussel Sorry, Fox News Channel, France, Israel, Jean George, Murdoch & Company, Murdoch/NewsCorp, News Channel, News Corp., NewsCorp, Prince, Rudy Giuliani, Rupert Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch Ownership, Saudi Arabia, The Guardian, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, United Kingdom, USD, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post