Rupert Murdoch Uses Fox News Synergy to Push His Dow Jones Deal
At 5 p.m. today, there was just one non-business focused cable newschannel spending long minutes pondering the significance of Rupert Murdoch's $5-billion offer for the Dow Jones company, owner of the Wall Street Journal.
Here's a hint: It's the newschannel he already owns.
Sensing a chance to leverage media synergy to further his bold bid, Murdoch sat down for several minutes at 4 p.m. with Fox News' senior vice president of business coverage, anchor Neil Cavuto, to offer his spin on why he made this offer.
By 5 p.m., when CNN and MSNBC were exploring President's Bush actions at that very moment to veto a war funding bill from Congress setting a timetable for exiting Iraq, John Gibson was kicking around the Murdoch question again. And after that was done, he didn't move on to the bill veto -- which Bush was expected to speak about at 6 p.m.
Instead, Gibson talked about a Catch a Predator style sting operation in which Miss America Lauren Nelson helped snare pedophiles by pretending to be an underage girl.
Just so happens the sting was arranged incooperation with the TV series America's Most Wanted. Guess which media mogul also owns the network on which America's Most Wanted appears?
To be sure, Rupert's bid is big news. If it is true that the family has refused his offer, they will have to justify the move to shareholders -- perhaps by asking another, more desirable financier to come in with an even bigger bid.
At stake is the notion of whether some newspapers can retain the unique, two tiered ownership system which keeps controlling stock shares concentrated in the hand of longtime family owners, presumably shielding the company fronm the kind of forced sale Knight-Ridder underwent last year.
Perhaps I'm sensitive to all this nonsense becaue of the recent FCC hearings on media ownership. But with competitor CNBC reporting that the family who controls Dow Jones is expected to resist the deal -- and with Cavuto nearly salivating on air at the prospect of having the Journal to back his under-development Fox Business Channel -- I'm tweaked by the fact that objective reporting on this issue seems a lost cause for Faux News.
--- It's a litle sad that the newspaper circulation game has come to this, but news that the St. Petersburg Times didn't lose circulation in recent figures released Monday, and even built circulation on Sundays, was cause to pop champagne corks. Especially compared to the double-digit losses in daily and Sunday circulation seen as Florida papers such as the Miami Herald and Tampa Tribune.