Did WSJ.com Force The Bancrofts’ Hand?

Since the day Rupert Murdoch’s bid to buy Dow Jones, Inc. became public, The Wall Street Journal, a Dow Jones property, has been reporting assiduously on the reactions of the Bancroft family, which controls the company.

Slightly buried in today’s Wall Street Journal piece about a statement from the Bancrofts released last night indicating their willingness to talk to Mr. Murdoch about a sale:

Still, some members of the family were confused about the implications of the statement, not quite realizing that they were effectively saying they were willing to explore a sale, according to people close to the board. As they were discussing the meaning of the statement at the board meeting, there was some debate about having it rephrased or even withdrawn, but just then, The Wall Street Journal posted a draft of the statement online. That ended the discussion, these people said.

Ironically, it has been largely staff at The Wall Street Journal that has raised questions about whether News Corp. ownership of the newspaper would compromise its editorial integrity.