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Time For A Fox Hunt As Murdoch Targets The Wall Street Journal

Danny Schechter

His network isn't known as FOX for nothing. Bear in mind that the term "Like a fox" was originally "derived from early European fox hunters, who had first thought the fox to be a stupid animal, only to be outwitted by the creature."

Yes, I am really talking about Rupert Murdoch, the evil genius behind the Fox News Channel who is now in the news (when is he not?) with a new $5 billion dollar offer to buy the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Company to add to his other "assets"

Murdoch's businesses already are "built on a unique capacity to collaborate with established power-whether legitimate or otherwise-while pretending to rebel against it, " explains Bruce Page in the Murdoch Archipelago. This book offers insight into a history of cunning and deceptive stratagems that threaten democracy. Most have been overlooked in many of the current stories that focus on what he says, not on what he has done in the pas and, likely, in the future. They treat his play for the DJ/ WSJ simplistically.

While members of the Bancroft family who have a controlling interest have so far resisted his entrées---and with an army of big media companies readying offers of their own in the background and foreground-it is a foregone conclusion that the company will soon be sold as one more generation of press barons cashes out.

So far, the press has pictured his this almost as a Mafia maneuver with competing families eyeing each other nervously and playing a waiting game. Here's Rupert reassuring the New York Times of his intentions and playing against any "crazy like a fox" suggestion. "I don't want to be in a position of putting one Bancroft against another Bancroft," Mr Murdoch said. "I'm not in the business of stirring up trouble in the family. Our understanding is that there are several members of the family who have not made a final decision.

(Hmm, hasn't Murdoch had more than a bit of "trouble" in his own family with a divorce from wife #1 followed by a marriage to a much younger employee who became wife #2 and then the defections of one son and a daughter from top posts?)

"I think the next step for us is to be patient - and to be available at any time should they respond to my suggestion for a meeting."

Reports the Guardian, "The New York Times asked what would happen if a large majority of the family ended up clearly rejecting his bid. "It would be ugly - depending on your perspective, it might be admirable too," he said. "I think it would cause quite a lot of argument.",,,

(It was not clear how Murdoch defines "ugly" or "admirable.")


"My real intention is to try to get a meeting, not to impress them with my charm - if I have any - but to impress them with the intentions and feelings of my adult children," he said.

How humble, proper and polite it all sounds with the world's most controversial mogul and rightwing media manipulator suggesting he would let the paper stay the same, not meddle and even appoint an independent editorial board, although true to form, he assured the public and his own board at the Orwellian sounding News Corp that he would "keep an eye on it."

You can bet he will. One key aspect of all this has not been mentioned in all the newspaper-centric stories focused on whether the paper's great "standards" will be tainted. (Excuse me but isn't the Journal also known for having the most Neanderthal-reactionary editorial pages in the world?)

It is already two newspapers in one and if Murdoch assumes control, it could become three. The current editorial board is already to the right of Fox News. A little tabloid glitz might heighten its appeal.


Yet, a dissent to this good versus evil narrative of is in order. Forgotten in this discourse so far are two words---television and broadband. That's the direction the media is going in, and for Murdoch who has been secretly creating a new TV business channel to compete with CNBC and Bloomberg et al, Dow Jones could add tremendous value as a news service while the Journal would give the whole package a marketable brand.

So while everyone is talking print, the real reason for the deal is not found on newsstands or even in most press accounts. Roger Ailes, the former and perhaps present GOP media advisor is building the new channel to take on his former bosses at NBC among others.

Bear in mind that foxes don't always signal their real intentions.

And to return to the animal kingdom, the home of predatory practices as in the fox in the chicken coop, you might want to know more about the uncanny resemblances of the #1 Media Fox to other foxes in the wild.


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According to a Wikipedia entry, "Fox families keep in contact with a wide array of different sounds. These sounds grade into one another and span five octaves; each fox has its own characteristically individual voice.


The best-known vulpine noise is a sort of barking that spans three to five syllables."

(Murdoch's offer has already generated a big wow-wow-wow in the media world.)

And then there's....

"The alarm bark

This monosyllabic sound is made by an adult to warn cubs of danger. "

(That's what we are hearing from others in the press who are barking back at Murdoch's alarming and flamboyant maneuver)

And there's more, in the fox world:


This is a stuttering, throaty noise made at aggressive encounters."

(Is there a more aggressive media marauder? Listen to him Gekker.)

And Finally,

"The vixen's wail

This is a long, drawn-out, monosyllabic, and rather eerie wail most commonly made during the breeding season; it is widely thought that it is made by a vixen in heat summoning dog-foxes. Contrary to common belief, however, it is also made by the males, evidently serving some other purpose as well."

"Some other purpose as well?" What can that be? Perhaps a bid for legitimacy lost at the Fox News Channel? Perhaps a one-man take-over of the media world, erasing distinctions and differences between quality journalism and Murdoch propaganda?

Unfortunately, the real reasons for this deal, and its likely impact are still shadowy, like much of his global galavanting.

And that's something to bark, glekker and wail about.

News Dissector Danny Schechter is "blogger-in chief" of, His new film is IN DEBT WE TRUST: America Before the Bubble Burst ( Comments to

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