Murdoch Burned By Dow Jones Spurn

While Rupert is Wall Street Jonesin to expand his empire, the Dow J contingent just aint feelin it. Aside from the fact that the DJ’s controlling family, the Bancrofts, have already expressed their opposition to the takeover; and the paper’s union is firmly against Murdoch’s proposal; and journalism experts have denounced the plan; a couple of new wrenches have been thrown into the gears of Murdoch’s machine.

Ottaways Deplore Bid by Murdoch
This New York Times report discloses the not-so-subtle view of the Ottaway family, another major Dow Jones shareholder group. James H. Ottaway Jr. is adamant that, “Dow Jones is not for sale, at any price, to Rupert Murdoch.” His son goes into a little more detail:

“As an investor, I would be very concerned to live in an era of making investment decisions based on the Murdoch-filtered business information. As a citizen, I would be afraid to live in a world where news is solely entertainment, and there is an agenda behind every story I read, watch or hear.”

Authorities investigate trading in Dow Jones options
This story speculates that somebody knew about Murdoch’s intentions before they were publicly disclosed:

“More than 10,000 call options on Dow Jones stock were traded in late April, compared with about 7,000 during all of the January-March quarter.”

Both Dow Jones and News Corp acknowledge receiving subpoenas from the New York attorney general’s office and inquiries from the SEC.

This could get interesting – fun even. And I could get a chance to practice my New York Post-style headlines like the one above.

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Bush: Don’t Believe Me. Listen To Zawahiri

George Bush makes a lot of noise about fighting terrorists. And although his efforts have met with something far less than success, he sputters on about the clash of civilizations, fighting them over there, and some ill-defined notion of victory. The media eats it up and regurgitates it back to the sparrowlings in the audience to sustain our hunger for war. That partnership reinforces the fable of Bush as a courageous defender of America’s huddled masses, cowering in the shadow of terror.

But Bush has also been known to approvingly take the counsel of our enemies and use it to validate his woeful failures. In a press conference on October 11, 2006, the president warned of dire consequences should we conclude our occupation of Iraq that would provide al-Qaeda with a “new safe haven.” And how did the president know this? Let him tell it:

“How do I know that would happen? Because that’s what the enemy has told us would happen. That’s what they have said. And as Commander-in-Chief of the United States military, and as a person working to secure this country, I take the words of the enemy very seriously, and so should the American people.”

OK then, Bush takes the words of the enemy very seriously and so should we. In fact, Bush even subjugates his viewpoint to that of bin Laden and Zawahiri:

“…all you got to do is listen to what Osama bin Laden says. Don’t believe me that it’s a part of the war on terror; listen to the enemy, or listen to Mr. Zawahiri, the number two of al Qaeda, both of whom made it clear that Iraq is central in their plans.”

Alright then, let’s listen to what Mr. Zawahiri said yesterday about the legislation that Bush just vetoed calling for a redeployment of American troops to begin in October:

“This bill reflects American failure and frustration. However, this bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap.”

“We ask Allah that they only get out of it after losing 200 to 300 hundred thousand killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson, which will motivate them to review their entire doctrinal and moral system which produced their historic criminal Crusader-Zionist entity,”

So Zawahiri wants us to stay in Iraq and Bush also wants us to stay in Iraq. This harmony of purpose affirms the Bush campaign slogan extolling him as a “uniter, not a divider.” Never mind that he is in unity with the terrorists and in division with the 70% of Americans that want us out of Iraq.

Once again, Bush is listening to our enemies – just as he told us he would.

Bill O’Reilly: Propaganda Pimp

Bill O’Reilly: Propaganda Pimp
In a roomful of egomaniacal bloviating pundits, Bill O’Reilly would stand out as a towering infernal display of delusional demagoguery. Almost any random sampling of The O’Reilly Fester will reveal a man obsessed with his own righteousness.

Click the link above to experience an interactive portrait of O’Reilly that puts his unique abuse of language on display.

Villains And Victims In Bill O’Reilly’s No Spin Zone

Researchers at Indiana University have published the results of a study that documents the intimidation and propagandizing employed by Fox News’ resident bully, Bill O’Reilly. The study, sub-titled, “Revisiting World War Propaganda Techniques,” finally paints an academically verified picture1 of O’Reilly’s repulsive modus operandi. Contrary to O’Reilly’s assertion that he doesn’t, do personal attacks,” the IU study spells out the truth:

The IU researchers found that O’Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night. [See the Stalking Points Memos].

This may not seem like news, but we now have data that is backed up by the reputation of researchers from a respectable American university. While it may appear that O’Reilly is a cartoonish character, he is following the model of Father Charles Coughlin, the early 20th century American racist/fascist. There were probably those who thought Coughlin was cartoonish at the time. And like Coughlin, O’Reilly does have a huge audience of blind ducklings that take his word as gospel. The lesson we must learn is that this sort of evil cannot be ignored.

O’Reilly is man that cannot say the word “left” without appending modifiers like “far,” “ultra,” “committed,” or “looney.” He is a man who is convinced that every critic is a “smear merchant.” And his opponents are never merely disagreeing with him, they are “vile.”

While the researchers never overtly associate O’Reilly with the work of his propagandisitc predecessors (i.e. Goebbels, Coughlin), they do point out some more subtle connections. The study itemized seven propaganda devices as defined by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis. O’Reilly was found to have employed six of them nearly 13 times each minute:

  • Name calling – giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence.
  • Glittering generalities – the opposite of name calling.
  • Card stacking – the selective use of facts and half-truths.
  • Bandwagon – appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd.
  • Plain folks – an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are “of the people”.
  • Transfer – carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept.
  • Testimonials – involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.

Sound familiar? Every now and then, an academic institution will conduct an exercise in the obvious. It would not take much in the way of intuition to have predicted the results of this study, but it is still useful to have compiled an accurate and scholarly paper on the subject to wave in the face of skeptics, not that O’Reilly’s minions will pay much mind. They will likely respond with the indignation of Stephen Colbert and proclaim that they don’t care much for “book-learnin.” And we know, because Colbert has told us, that the truth has a well known liberal bias.

[1] I have also painted a picture of O’Reilly’s repulsive modus operandi. Actually, it is an interactive artwork that documents O’Reilly’s attempts to demean and belittle his perceived enemies. Unfortunately, the piece is a day or two from completion. I was surprised that this study from IU was released so close to my completion of this artwork. Coincidence? I’ll have the artwork posted by Saturday. It’s posted now: Bill O’Reilly: Propaganda Pimp
Contine reading

More Fallout From the Fox Street Journal

Dow Jones’s Bancroft Family Rejects Murdoch’s Offer:
Dow Jones & Co. said Bancroft family members who control more than 50 percent of the company’s voting shares will reject a $5 billion takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

This still doesn’t mean it’s over. Murdoch could sweeten the offer and there may be offers from other media companies like the New York Times or the Washington Post Co. Even Google has been mentioned in speculation. This could drag on for a while.

IAPE/Communications Workers of America Oppose News Corp. Bid:
Mr. Murdoch has shown a willingness to crush quality and independence, and there is no reason to think he would handle Dow Jones or The Journal any differently.

Ben H. Bagdikian, author and former journalism dean, UC Berkeley:
If Murdoch gets control of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones and if he follows the pattern of his past acquisitions, he will use the Wall Street Journal to serve his own purposes, financial and political.

Murdoch Makes Bid For Dow Jones

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has made an unsolicited offer to purchase the Dow Jones Company, owner of, among other things, the Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones is majority controlled by the Bancroft family, who have been reluctant to sell in the past. But the combination of the poor performance of newspaper investments and the nearly 50% premium that Murdoch is offering may represent a more tempting proposal than they have seen before. The significance of this potential acquisition extends to a variety of concerns that should raise field of red flags.

News Corp is rapidly overwhelming the most intimate and influential components of our society.

The first and most obvious concern relates to the ongoing problem of media consolidation. The News Corp. empire already owns the nation’s largest cable news network, a major broadcast entertainment network, numerous TV and radio stations, a prominent film/TV studio, entertainment and sports cable networks, magazine and newspaper holdings, publishing companies including HarperCollins, and Internet properties including the world’s largest social networking site, MySpace. Dow Jones, in addition to the Wall Street Journal, owns the Dow Jones Newswire, Barrons Magazine, the Dow Jones Indexes, and popular Internet destinations spun off of the Journal and Barrons.

The thought of these two highly influential media conglomerates merging should stir up some anxiety under any circumstances. But add in the recent announcement by Fox of their intention to launch a new Fox Business Channel this fall and that anxiety should escalate into full blown vertigo. Placing the assets of Dow Jones under the same umbrella that runs what will be a formidable player in cable financial news will produce an anti-competitive megalith that can only result in a decline in journalistic aspirations as well as further erosion of the public interest. But the problem is worse than just any media group acquiring Dow Jones. The Fox aqcuisition brings along with it Murdoch’s previously admitted biases and rejection of the most basic principles of journalism. As a reminder, Murdoch told conferees at a McGraw-Hill media summit that…

“…a Fox channel would be ‘more business-friendly than CNBC.’ That channel ‘leap[s] on every scandal, or what they think is a scandal.'”

If that’s a preview of what we can expect from the Fox Business Channel, and the Fox-run Wall Street Journal, we do have real cause for concern. It would mean an end to objectivity and accuracy in favor of being more “friendly” toward the institutions that are being covered.

But that’s not all. The assets of Dow Jones span a unique stretch of the American landscape. The Wall Street Journal, while widely considered to have a conservative slant on its editorial pages, is often a valuable contributor to serious investigative journalism. And its management of the stock market indexes that influence much of the economic activity in the country, and the world, depend on fealty to the marketplace and not other subjective criteria. How can such impartial management be expected from Murdoch, who also made this confession at a conference in Davos, Switzerland, when asked if he had managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq:

“No, I don’t think so. We tried.” Asked by [Charlie] Rose for further comment, he said: “We basically supported the Bush policy in the Middle East.”

Would he try to use his new toys to shape the economy by publishing articles supportive of Bush (or other neocon) policy? Would he try to manipulate the contents of the Dow 30, or other market indexes, for partisan purposes?

Murdoch’s ambitions are notorious and frightening. These latest moves bring us closer to the tightening of the noose around America’s throat. News Corp is rapidly overwhelming the most intimate and influential components of our society. They may soon control the perceptions of our politics (Fox News), our culture (Fox Entertainment), and now our economy (Fox Business Channel/DowJones). And anyone who isn’t afraid of this – afraid enough to be motivated to act – is probably already infected, likely beyond salvation. I hope that does not include YOU!

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News Corpse is undergoing a bit of internal enhancement, i.e. a software upgrade. Posting has been curtailed during this operation, but should resume shortly. Thanks for your patience and here are a few news nuggets to get you by.

New York Times Bows Out of White House Correspondents Dinner
After last weekend’s correspondents’ dinner, The Times decided to end its participation in such events. But even were the dinner to vanish altogether, it remains but a yearly televised snapshot of the overall syndrome. The current White House, weakened as it is, can still establish story lines as fake as ‘Mission Accomplished’ and get a free pass.

Six of the Top 25 American Newspapers Lose Subs
Of the top 10, the Los Angeles Times is the biggest loser with a decline of 4.25%.

John Stossel and Glenn Beck As Global Warming Deniars
This week will see programs by Glenn Beck on CNN Headline News and John Stossel on ABC’s 20/20, that seek to present global warming as either a myth or inconsequential. I’m sure their advertisers at GE and Exxon will be pleased.

Stephanie Miller Begins 3 Day Tryout on MSNBC
Be sure to watch. Then let MSNBC know that you would like to see her in that slot full-time: Letters to MSNBC TV.

Fox News Picks Republican Debaters

Here’s an interesting turn of events. Fox News will be hosting the Republican Party’s presidential primary debate in South Carolina next month. The terms of the agreement call for a process of validation to determine which candidates will participate. The interesting part is that Fox gets to play a role in the decision. There is a set of criteria which has not been disclosed other than that it includes a requirement to have…

“…garnered at least 1 percent in recent state and national polls leading up to the registration deadline, as determined by Fox News Channel and the South Carolina Republican Party.”

I couldn’t care less who Fox wants to allow to play in the Republican sand box. But if there are still any unconvinced critics of the Democrats who objected to Fox hosting their affair, this should conclude the debate on the debates.

It should be clear now that Fox is not a neutral player. Republicans consider them a partner and grant them broad privilege in producing their partisan events. Can you imagine what would have ensued if Democrats had gone through with the proposed Fox-sponsored debate in Nevada?

The Assault On Bill Moyers Has Begun.

The PBS debut of Bill Moyers Journal’s “Buying the War”, has provoked the media’s preeminent bully into a veritable frenzy. We can almost certainly expect Bill O’Reilly to air a post-broadcast rant on the dangers of the secular-progressive, far-left, presentation of committed left-wing loony, Moyers, because nothing is more terrifying to O’Reilly and his ilk than the truth.

And, as we know, the truth has a well known left-wing bias (h/t Colbert).

But in fact, Bill didn’t even wait for the program to air. Borrowing from Bush’s playbook, Bill O’Reilly has been attacking preemptively:

Bill Moyers. Wednesday night, he’s going to take a big shot at the press on PBS. We know he’s in bed with Soros.

The absurdity of that non-sequitor illustrates just how unhinged O’Reilly has become. He sees enemies around every corner, probably trying to pollute our precious bodily fluids.

More from O’Reilly:

…and Bill Moyers at PBS. – In fact, as president of the Shoeman [sic] Center Foundation, Moyers oversaw at least a $500,000 transfer of money to Media Matters.

Of course, that is a lie that Bill had to acknowledge the following night – although without troubling himself to apologize.

And there’s this:

Tomorrow, PBS will broadcast a documentary by committed leftist Bill Moyers that charges the American media, especially the conservative media, gleefully embraced war with Iraq and smeared anyone who disagreed with the action.

Moyers takes a special pride in denigrating FOX News and talk radio in his presentation. Now I supported the action against Saddam because the Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton, William Cohen, the CIA, British intelligence, and a variety of other intelligence agencies all told me Saddam was making dangerous weapons in violation of the first Gulf War cease-fire. We did our own original reporting here.

Now I based my decision on the best available information, not on any ideological belief. I was wrong in my assessment, as was everybody else. But it was an honest mistake.

O’Reilly is just admitting that he is dolt – believing the same lies from the same administration shills, then asserting that that was a demonstration of “original reporting.” How is swallowing propaganda from government lackeys even remotely connected to journalism? And his contention that everyone believed the same thing ignores the millions of people worldwide who took to the streets to defiantly object to the lies and the policy that was supported by those lies. Finally, he issues a disingenuous mea culpa that hardly makes up for all the death and misery that ensued as a consequence of his “honest mistake”.

But I think I know what’s stuck in Bill’s craw. A couple of years ago, Bill exposed the festering wound that has become an infected mass of puss and bile:

…he [Moyers] wins another big award announced today. A Polk Award. So he got a Peabody and a Polk. They just love him.

Do you think Bill-O is just a bit jealous? He had to lie about getting a Peabody, then lied again saying that he won Polk (for a program that he had left two years earlier). The envy is palpable, and has been stewing for years.

Keeping things in perspective it must be noted that clear majorities of the American people will agree with Moyers that the press was pathetically inadequate and criminally negligent, in the run-up to the war in Iraq. But just to be on the safe side, we should let Moyers and PBS know that there is an appreciation for courageous, responsible journalism, and we will vote with our dollars, our eyeballs, and our hearts, to ensure that there is more of it. Send your thoughts here:

Bill Moyers Journal: Feedback

Rupert Murdoch on George W. Bush

Michael Milken’s 10th Annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles hosted some of the media’s top executive honchos, including News Corp overlord Rupert Murdoch, who was in a talkative mood. Following are a few choice quotes.

Stating the obvious, Murdoch accurately critiques our President’s prowess at incoherence:
“I’m a supporter of President Bush, but I do believe he is a bad, inadequate communicator. He seems to freeze whenever a television camera appears.”

But this doesn’t dim the glow of his schoolboy crush:
“…whereas he is the most persuasive and strong and articulate person when you meet him. This is really a problem.”

Addressing fellow maven, Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch commiserates their isolation in the media world and seems confused as to why everybody else doesn’t worship Bush as much as they do:
“Apart from your newspaper and mine (the New York Post), there’s a sort of monolithic attack on (Bush) every day of the year. People want to destroy him.”

Murdoch suspects that the animosity towards Bush is rooted in religious persecution (America is notoriously anti-Christian) and or resentment for having perverted democracy. It certainly couldn’t be for waging a disasterous and unnecessary war and presiding over the most corrupt administration in history:
“They don’t like him, whether it’s because of his religious conviction or whatever, or the outcome of the 2000 election. He has a history of things there which seem to have built up the situation where, in Washington today, the atmosphere is absolutely toxic.”

But there is some good news:
“You can’t really expect anything to be achieved in the next 18 months (of his presidency). That is a very serious, sad problem of this country.”