Press Box

Murdoch Journal Watch—New York Post Edition

Never mind the Journal’s editorial independence. Pray for the New York Post’s.

Rupert Murdoch

Everybody else worries about the Wall Street Journal maintaining its editorial independence under genocidal tyrant Rupert Murdoch, who recently acquired its parent company, Dow Jones & Co. But I’m worried about Murdoch’s New York Post maintaining its.

For years, the Post has delighted in sticking it to Dow Jones & Co., often under the byline or co-byline of beat reporter Keith J. Kelly. If the company’s staff union—the Independent Association of Publishing Employees—shrieks about something or embarrassing news leaks out about a Dow Jones executives, the Post has chronicled the event.

Scroll these headlines for a flavor of the Post’s saturation coverage:

“Staff Fears for Jobs as Journal Gets Smaller,” Dec. 4, 2006”Union Harassment Irks WSJ Staffers,” Nov. 21, 2006 “Journal Joust—Publisher Slaps Down Union as Talks Open,” Nov. 17, 2006”Union Tries Tapping Dow Wires to Bulk Up,” Oct. 5, 2006”DJ Power Play—Kann’s Gone as Moneyman Zannino Gets Top Job,” Jan. 4, 2006”Second-Class Citizens—Marketwatch Staffers in Benefits Fight With Dow Jones,” Oct. 14, 2005 “Barron’s Joins Byline Strike—Anger Over Benefit Cuts Spreads Through Dow Jones Empire,” June 18, 2004 “Reporters Rail Against Execs During Dow Jones Meeting,” April 22, 2004 “WSJ Boss Makes Killing—Staff Working Without Contract for More Than a Year,” March 24, 2004”It’s March Madness: WSJ Staffers Stage New Job Actions,” March 3, 2004”Labor Pains at Dow Jones—Scribes Stage 20-Min. Walkout as Contract Talks Loom,” Feb. 25, 2004

Fun coverage, for sure, but since Murdoch’s News Corp. made its Dow Jones play, the Post has gone silent on Dow Jones labor issues. For instance, on Aug. 14, the IAPE led a newsroom walkout of Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires employees. Convening in a park, they signed an oversized card congratulating Murdoch on his acquisition of Dow Jones and urged him to give them a “quality contract.”

In the old days, the Post would have commemorated the union’s agitprop with a headline such as “WSJ Staffers Take a Hike, Send Love Letter.” But the paper ignored the demo. This was in keeping with the blind eye the paper turned on a June 29 union protest, in which Wall Street Journal reporters skipped work in the morning to oppose Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones and demand a better contract.

It’s tough for any publication to report on itself or about its owners, yet Murdoch’s ownership of the Post didn’t discourage the tabloid from covering in detail the progress of the Dow Jones deal. That the New York Post no longer wishes to kick the union anthill now that the ants work for Murdoch should come as no surprise.

The Post’s new evaluation of the newsworthiness of the Dow Jones union illustrates the genocidal tyrant’s editorial philosophy. He believes that his news organizations exist to punish his enemies and reward his friends. The contagion that makes the Post so unreliable will soon infect the Journal. You read it here first.


But I’m an optimist! I just resubscribed to the Wall Street Journal. Send Murdoch sightings to (E-mail may be quoted by name in “The Fray,” Slate’s readers’ forum, in a future article, or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)