Rupert Murdoch buys the Wall Street Journal: good news for economic justice?

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Steve Boriss of http://thefutureofnews.com posted that Rupert Murdoch would split the national newspaper market into right and left, with the Wall Street Journal overshadowing the allegedly liberal New York Times and Wall Street Journal. I think he's right but noted on his site:

Except that CNN, NY Times, and Washington Post aren't really left in any way that matters, certainly not on matters of economic justice that would bother the 2% of people like Rupert Murdoch who claim to own half the planet.

People certainly want news and information that has an opinion, and right-wing propaganda answers that desire (with a heavy dose of supporting the government, a Murdoch signature move from Australia to China, but that's why he gets around ownership rules, not why people read the stuff).

There's room for an authentically left voice in newspapers that would revive circulation – check out Por Esto - http://www.poresto.net/ - for an example from our neighbor to the South, but there's a wealth and advertiser, if not government involvement, that makes this difficult.

What I wanted to post here, though, is how this can be a good thing for people who care about justice, truth, and liberty. Yes, there's a lot of bad in that it tilts the media landscape toward monarchism. And it may or may not delay people of good will realizing just how reactionary the establishment print media already is, despite occasional timid endorsements of enlightenment ideals such as not torturing too many people.

Information is extremely important for power. Elites that run the world for their own benefit do actually have to have a clue what's going on in it.

That's why the Wall Street Journal has long been known as having an excellent reporting staff even as it has a crackpot editorial page. Certainly, the articles are written for the wealthy with a blatant slant toward their interests, as are all major newspapers, especially in the financial section. This is a subtle propaganda of perspective that is absorbed over time, but it's far from the highly targeted messages, spin, and polish of Fox cable news.

Rupert Murdoch will change that. He will politicize the news department. He will remake it to serve the purpose of propaganda, pure and simple, with a little sex, scandal, and even creative independence (well probably not, but if he follows the Fox television model) thrown in to gain a wider audience.

There is opportunity here, from the standpoint of the class war that the wealthy have been waging against the rest of us relentlessly for... well, milennia.

The rich (and, to be honest, all of us) are about to lose an important source of information for understanding reality.

(This has already started to be the case. Even as the media has propped up the Bush regime and the broader, increasingly corrupt and illegitimate ruling structures that predates and will follow it, this same establishment doesn't see how despised and irrelevant it is to people.)

Will we rise to the challenge of providing ourselves with accurate news and information, and present a truer understanding of the world for greater numbers of people at the same time? The fate of The NewStandard does not bode well.

But we must. Information is an underpinning of power, and the truth, as always, is on the side of justice and liberty.

The answer to a power-mad propagandist buying the Wall Street Journal is not to rally to keep up the market share of the New York Times or the Washington Post. Both newspapers have always been more important propaganda outlets than the Wall Street Journal. They are especially used to bring the educated elite (but far from ruling class) to support imperial wars and staggeringly wealth-biased policies like NAFTA and surrendering sovereignty to the WTO.

(Don't bug me to prove the mechanism by which wealthy, corporate, and government interests manipulate the news, although the publisher to editor hierarchy and the mere geographic and social location of chief editors is a case in itself– look at what these newspapers print! To take the most recent sample, yesterday's Washington Post article "Gulf States Buy Arms With Wary Eye on Iran; Hosting U.S. Forces Seen as a Vulnerability," by Ellen Knickmeyer, off-handedly portrays a U.S. attack on Iran as normal and of no apparent cause or context: "Arab nations in the Persian Gulf are snapping up new U.S. arms offers partly out of fear that U.S. military installations on their territory would make them targets in any American war with Iran, regional experts said." That's the first sentence, the first paragraph. The second paragraph brings the obligatory reference to U.S. aims for peace– maybe I have Knickmeyer all wrong, maybe she's a brilliant satirist: "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the prospective weapons sales for Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf nations this week as she toured the Middle East with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The two sought to win support for U.S. peace efforts in the region and reassure Arab allies worried about fallout from U.S. policies toward Iraq and Iran." Norman Solomon has an article about media support for continuing occupation in and war against Iraq, in which he notes Richard B. Cheney holding up a supportive piece in the New York Times as opposition endorsement.)

The answer (if you're still reading, there's a reason this is in the notes and not the blog section of this site) is to build our own network for disseminating truth that will not censor itself, cannot be bought, and, through a diversity of news sources, puts significant resources into investigating and reporting on the reality we live in and need to understand – in daily, specific ways – to make better.