What You Should Have Read, March 31, 2008
The Washington Post's media critic Howard Kurtz takes on the changes at The Wall Street Journal. In the four months since Rupert Murdoch took over the nation's leading financial newspaper, the front page has assumed a harder edge, particularly on politics, establishing the Journal as a high-profile player in the presidential campaign. Murdoch is "clearly interested in challenging the journalistic establishment," says Robert Thomson, the former editor of Murdoch's Times of London, in his first public comments as Journal publisher, adding later, "If there's a presumption that what you might call New York Times journalism is the pinnacle of our profession, the profession is in some difficulty." But Marcus Brauchli, the Journal's top editor is acutely aware that Murdoch casts a long shadow. Last month -- utilizing a power that no other newspaper editor wields -- Brauchli changed the makeup of the Dow Jones industrial average, removing Honeywell and Altria and adding Chevron and Bank of America. He later noticed the decision being trashed on Honeywell message boards."They were all ranting about how Rupert Murdoch had done this," Brauchli says. "People see the hand of Murdoch whether it's there or not."