Mr. Steiger did not offer a public rebuke of the editorial page, which led Journal staffers to draft a letter of protest undermining the news gathering operation.
Especially in the case of Mr. Gigot, whose level of influence over the selection of the initial members of the Independence Committee is difficult to gauge, there appears to be some reason to believe that Mr. Murdoch’s ideas about the political positioning of the Journal might not be unwelcome.
On April 24, exactly one week after putting his offer in writing to the Dow Jones board, Mr. Murdoch sat on a lunch-time panel moderated by Mr. Gigot and sponsored by The Milken Institute, an economic think tank started by “Junk Bond King” turned philanthropist, Michael Milken.
At the panel, which was part of a three-day global conference, Mr. Gigot brought up the topic of President Bush. Specifically, why doesn’t the president receive credit for economic growth?
“I’m a supporter of President Bush, but I do believe he’s a bad—or inadequate—communicator,” Mr. Murdoch replied. “He seems to freeze whenever a television camera appears.”
“You’ve got, apart from your newspaper and mine, a sort of monolithic attack on him every day of the year,” said Mr. Murdoch, referring in fact to his New York Post and (soon to be his?) Journal.
Some editors at The Journal knew about the offer by then, according to The New York Times, including “Marcus Brauchli, the chosen successor to Mr. Steiger … ; Dan Hertzberg, deputy managing editor; and Nikhil Deogun, the paper’s Money and Investing editor.”
Mr. Gigot would not answer calls seeking to discover whether he also knew about the offer at the time of the panel.
Mr. Gigot is also close to Mr. Bray, one of the other names to have come up as a candidate for the independence committee.
When Mr. Bray was fired as editorial page editor of The Detroit News in April 2000, Mr. Gigot rushed to his defense.
“Tom Bray was a voice of conservative reform before it became politically successful,” Mr. Gigot told the National Review. “He was a dissenting voice from liberal orthodoxy and an all too rare one among major city dailies.”
Mr. Bray worked as a Journal reporter from 1964 to 1983, and after leaving The Detroit News, would later become a writer at OpinionJournal.com until the end of 2002.
Then there is the longstanding relationship between the newspaper’s publisher, Mr. Crovitz, and Mr. Olson.
Back in March 1988, Mr. Crovitz, then an assistant editor on the editorial page, wrote a piece titled “The Blackmailing of Ted Olson,” which was harshly critical of an independent counsel’s perjury investigation of Mr. Olson. A year later, the Heritage Foundation published Mr. Crovitz’s expanded criticism that highlighted Mr. Olson’s “persecution.”
So it’s not surprise that back in October 1991, Messrs. Olson, Crovitz and Supreme Court pretender Robert Bork—dining together at Morton’s of Chicago—became part of an impromptu cheering section for the embattled Clarence Thomas two days before he was narrowly confirmed by the Senate, according to the Washington Post. It was reported that Justice Thomas and his supporters, Sens. Orrin Hatch and John Danforth, stood up to leave and were surprised by a standing ovation from fellow diners.”
Mr. Crovitz served as the best man at his wedding this past October—a lavish event attended by conservative legal luminaries like Justice Anthony Kennedy, Robert Bork, and Ken Starr.