Monday, July 18, 2011

Free advice for Rupert Murdoch

I haven't been following the News Corp. scandal as closely as some, so I can't fairly say whether accusations that Rupert Murdoch's American media properties have been soft-pedaling the controversy are accurate for the most part.

What I can say is that, were I doing public relations for Murdoch, the last thing I would want would be for News Corp. outlets such as Fox News and the Wall Street Journal to be giving Murdoch a pass. This scandal isn't about, say, some financial impropriety at the corporation; it's not about insider trading a la Martha Stewart. The accusations against News Corp. reporters and editors strike at News Corp.'s core business, and it feeds a long-held narrative that Murdoch cares only about amassing power and little about journalistic integrity. The best thing Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and other Murdoch news outlets could do now is to aggressively pursue the story, where ever it leads, as proof the corporation has some journalistic ethos.

The last thing I would want if my job was to safeguard the company's image would be to get up in the morning and read editorials like this one, with its everybody-else-does-it, why-is-everybody-always-picking-on-me tone. It's certainly the last thing I would want to read if I actually worked at the Wall Street Journal, which at least in my estimation still has a very good brand as a news-gathering organization and as the source of thoughtful conservativism, a brand that is sure to suffer because of its association with its wounded corporate parent.

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