There will be plenty of formal responses to the news that The Wall Street Journal will soon join the "stable" of Rupert Murdoch’s "media properties.
But few will top that of MoveOn.org Civic Action, the grassroots activism wing of the popular internet forum.
MoveOn will dispatch newsboys and newsgirls to the streets of New York City tomorrow to hand out Murdoched versions of The Wall Street Journal in front of the venerable financial newspaper’s Manhattan headquarters.
The parody papers will feature actual headlines from Murdoch’s Fox News network — and, with them, the suggestion that the Journal will soon be the latest reflection of Murdoch’s one-size-fits-all approach to media.
That approach, it should be noted, is resolutely neo-liberal when it comes to economics — all for free trade, privatization, deregulation — and neo-conservative when it comes to superpower politics. It is wholly deferent to the presidents and prime ministers with whom Murdoch willingly and willfully allies himself. And it has a tendency to reduce serious matters to the sort of tabloid takes favored by Murdoch’s New York Post newspaper.
Among the actual Fox headlines that will be featured on the Murdoched Journals to be distributed Wednesday:
"All-Out Civil War In Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"
"Is The Liberal Media Helping To Fuel Terror?"
"The #1 President on Mideast Matters: George W. Bush?"
"Study: Some Trees Contribute To Global Warming"
"Have Democrats Forgotten The Lessons of 9/11?"
The headlines are as silly as Fox.
But there point is an important one.
One of America’s most respected journalistic voices is in danger of becoming the print version of a certain fairly-imbalanced news network.
"This may be the beginning of the end for the Wall Street Journal," says Adam Green, the civic communications director for MoveOn.org Civic Action. "No sane businessperson or investor will tolerate the type of unreliable, partisan news that Murdoch serves up at Fox and his other media outlets."
John Nichols’ new book is