Rupert Murdoch Cans Wall Street Journal First Amendment Lawyer

The Wall Street Journal‘s longtime and well-liked First Amendment lawyer was fired by a Dow Jones senior executive, a recent hire by Rupert Murdoch.

The lawyer, Stuart Karle, had been with the newspaper since 1992. Yesterday afternoon Mr. Karle was called into the office of Dow Jones’ counsel, Mark Jackson, who was formerly the associate chief counsel of HarperCollins and was made the chief counsel of Dow Jones on Dec. 17, two workdays after Mr. Murdoch closed on his sale of the company.

Mr. Karle was told he was fired and he had to leave the paper by the end of March, according to a person familiar with the situation. Two newsroom sources said that the paper’s managing editor, Marcus Brauchli, had no say in the decision.

The Journal newsroom today, described one staffer, is "stunned."

"We’re pissed," said another. "Stuart understands our culture, he comes from within our culture. Why is Murdoch bringing in someone from HarperCollins? Symbolically, it’s a bad move. It doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that Murdoch really values the culture of this place."

Mr. Karle, when reached by phone, confirmed that he was fired and added: "I love all the work I’ve done here."