Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Opinionator: A blog at the NY Times by Tobin Harshaw & Chris Suellentrop

The Wall Street Journal editorial page wants its readers to know that it won’t be changing its political perspective just because Rupert Murdoch bought Dow Jones, the company that owns The Journal:

The nastiest attacks have come from our friends on the political left. They can’t decide whose views they hate most — ours, or Mr. Murdoch’s. We’re especially amused by those who say Mr. Murdoch might tug us to the political left. Don’t count on it. More than one liberal commentator has actually rejoiced at the takeover bid, on the perverse grounds that this will ruin the Journal’s news coverage, which in turn will reduce the audience for the editorial page. Don’t count on that either.

Such an expectation overlooks that the principle of “free people and free markets” promoted in these columns has an appeal far beyond this newspaper. We fill a market niche for such commentary that is too little met by other newspapers and media outlets. But we have every confidence that if we vanished, or let our standards fall, the marketplace would find an alternative. What ultimately matters are the ideas, and their basic truth.

A letter to readers by Wall Street Journal publisher L. Gordon Crovitz, published on The Journal’s op-ed page, makes a similar claim about opinion journalism in the Murdoch era. One of the “standards modeled on the long-standing Dow Jones Code of Conduct” agreed to by News Corp. and the Bancrofts is this: “Opinions represent only the applicable publication’s own editorial philosophies centered around the core principle of ” ‘free people and free markets.’ ”