Murdoch purchase of Wall Street Journal complete?

There are rumors swirling furiously in media land that Rupert Murdoch has successfully completed his purchase of the Wall Street Journal.  The paper itself, as well as its union, deny the rumors.

Allegedly, the main point of contention in the negotiations between Murdoch and the current owners of Dow Jones (the super-old money Bancroft family) is editorial independence.  The Bancrofts claim they want the paper to remain editorially independent.  Murdoch is famous for reaching his tentacles directly into the newsroom, using his papers to settle personal vendettas, and worse.  Apparently, a deal has been struck whereby Murdoch's News Corp. will have very limited influence over WSJ (the ability to hire and fire the editor and publisher, subject to approval of an independent board.)

The Journal's op-ed pages are already famously conservative, nearly to the point of lunacy.  The paper's reporting, on the other hand, is considered top-notch.  The Journal has the second-highest circulation in the country (second to USA Today, ahead of the New York Times) and is considered highly reputable and influential.  How will this change if Murdoch takes over? What can progressives expect the new media landscape to look like?

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The Sky Isn't Falling

Chicken Little is alive and well and has landed at the Wall Street Journal.  Kimberley Strassel's column in the Friday June 15 issue is as sensational and apocalyptic as it is inaccurate. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB11818687 4191936215.html?mod=googlenews_wsj In some circles, hatred of anything remotely connected to the word "environment" has become downright pathological, leading writers like Ms. Strassel to reject everything from free market principles to basic mathematics.  

Where to begin with this one?  Ms. Strassel launches her screed by describing how a wealthy and mighty environmental movement is controlling the political agenda and the makeup of Congress.  Odd coming from her glass house - an editorial page  that bravely stands up for the most powerful corporations the world has ever known, which shovel hundreds of millions of dollars into the political system each year.  Conservationists like us don't even bother to dream about having that kind of political pull.  To the degree that the environmental community contributed to the ousting of anti-environmental candidates, that can be credited to two things - good old-fashioned grassroots volunteerism and a shift in the values of the electorate.  Guess what - that's called democracy!

Ms. Strassel then goes on to question energy legislation recently introduced by Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV).  Unlike Ms. Strassel, I am not surprised that a congressman from rural West Virginia has a strong environmental record.  Mr. Rahall understands that the sustainable management of the natural resources of his district ensures jobs, protects public health, and maintains the cultural and natural heritage of his constituents.  His efforts to channel funding toward protecting species from the effects of global warming are supported not just by the mythical  environmental crazies she's so afraid of, but by numerous hunting and fishing groups, many members of which are card carrying Republicans and NRA backers.  Why?  Just ask any six year old with wonder in his eyes about the beauty and variety of the animal kingdom.  

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NV Gov (R): There's a WSJ/Dem conspiracy to bring me down

Is Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons now channeling Richard Milhous Nixon?

Is Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons in the same league with those who believe Elvis was abducted by Aliens?

Is Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons America's nutty Governor?

The answer to all of the above is probably yes. Here's why:

Is there really a conspiracy between Democrats and the Wall Street Journal? Are Democrats in fact paying the WSJ to get Gibbons?

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We, the blog mob

In a widely-circulated and much-discussed Wall Street Journal editorial, Joseph Rago, the paper's assistant editorial features editor, takes a swipe at the blogosphere. He accuses blogs - "the blog mob" - of being poor in quality, "pretty awful" and "downright appalling." Further, our stories lack nuance and irony, our arguments are self-absorbed and our definition of discourse means insulting our ideological adversaries. His most developed point, and the one echoed by a thousand Joseph Ragos in a thousand old media outlets, is that blogs - specifically political blogs - pose a threat to the "traditional" Fourth Estate. While I have my own thoughts on this argument, one that Chris Bowers has already thoroughly fisked, I would rather spend these precious column inches discussing the point behind the point, the feelings of resentment far more dangerous than those of an ink-stained wretch shouting for we punk bloggers to get off of his lawn.

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Drudge, Rush, WSJ: Foley crime is Dems fault!

Many of the leading voices of the right-wing are throwing out their common sense in their attempt to deflect blame away from their leaders over their loathesome dereliction of duty in protecting American high-schoolers from the sexual predator Mark Foley (R-Fla).

Digby has captured a couple of clear examples of standard plays from the Republican playbook intended to shift blame. First up is Drudge:

Clip #1: And if anything, these kids are less innocent -- these 16 and 17 year-old beasts...and I've seen what they're doing on YouTube and I've seen what they're doing all over the internet -- oh yeah -- you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.

Clip #2: You could say "well Drudge, it's abuse of power, a congressman abusing these impressionable, young 17 year-old beasts, talking about their sex lives with a grown man, on the internet." Because you have to remember, those of us who have seen some of the transcripts of these nasty instant messages. This was two ways, ladies and gentlemen. These kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth. Oh yeah. Oh, I haven't...they were talking about how many times they'd masturbated, how many times they'd done it with their girlfriends this weekend...all these things and these "innocent children." And this "poor" congressman sitting there typing, "oh am I going to get any," you know?

To paraphrase Drudge, the kids propositioned by Foley are "beasts" and "their pop culture" is responsible. They led Foley on, they wanted it, and they brought it on themselves. No word on whether Drudge also thinks sexy clothing had anything to do with the fact that Foley couldn't tell a tenth-grader from an 18 year-old.

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