Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal last year, and in short order he has turned it into a tongue-clucking sympathizer with and proselytizer for the biggest of big businesses — not only on its editorial pages, but also in its news stories.
For example, a recent report on the economic trouble of America’s financial giants was so saccharinely sympathetic to the bankers that you could practically see teardrops on the page. The opening paragraph wailed that the banking industry is “racked by the financial crisis and facing slower revenue growth.” Nowhere in the story was there even an allusion to the crucial fact that the “racking” was brought upon the poor bankers (not to mention the rest of us) by — guess who — the bankers themselves. Instead, the Journal wrote admiringly of Wells Fargo, American Express, State Street and other powerhouses of finance that are nobly struggling “in challenging economic conditions” to cut costs and “become more efficient.”
Would this admirable drive for efficiency include any sacrifices in salary, perks and bonuses of the absurdly pampered top bankers? Holy Gordon Gekko, get real! No, no, sacrifice is for others. As the title of the Journal’s article puts it, “Lenders See Little Choice: Layoffs” — and Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is not about to be so rude as to mention that if his banker chums really want to become leaner, they could start by looking in the mirror.
Indeed, in deference to the tender sensibilities of Wall Street, the Journal doesn’t even refer to the offing of thousands of bank workers as firings. Rather, these people are soullessly termed “head-count reductions.”
In word and tone, Rupert Murdoch is boiling journalism out of the once-proud news pages of the Journal, reducing the paper’s proper name to Wall Street’s Journal.
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