The Wall Street Journal‘s News Corp. ownership is at last showing, in the paper’s first editorial on the phone hacking meltdown,”News and its Critics,” published this morning.
The column kicks off with a bang, blaming poor policing for News Corp.’s illegal reporting tactics.
“Phone-hacking is illegal, and it is up to British authorities to enforce their laws. If Scotland Yard failed to do so adequately when the hacking was first uncovered several years ago, then that is more troubling than the hacking itself,” they wrote.
We would argue that the most troubling is News International’s alleged bribery of Scotland Yard, but that’s just us.
The editorial’s main argument is that it’s so unfair that other media outlets–the Journal‘s competitors, don’t forget–are using News of the World’s meltdown to tarnish the reputation of good News Corp. journalists , which, hello, no one is doing. By contrast, they’re reporting (perhaps with above average astonishment and enthusiasm) on how high within News Corp. and governing bodies the rot had spread.
We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur. They want their readers to believe, based on no evidence, that the tabloid excesses of one publication somehow tarnish thousands of other News Corp. journalists across the world.
In the totally tenuous Wikileaks-Phone Hacking analogy, News of the World is the Bradley Manning, not the Julian Assange, and no one gave him a free pass.
Anyway, read the rest of it for a tour of excuses, everything from “everyone else was doing it” to “you guys are just jealous.” And don’t miss the entirely gratuitous love letter to (and photo of!) their departed publisher, the lifetime Murdoch acolyte, Les Hinton, who resigned over the weekend after PR firm Edelman was brought in for emergency housecleaning.
It’s said that Rupert Murdoch rewards loyalty, so no matter how this shakes out, the WSJ editorial board will land ok.