WSJ Buyout Options 'Trash or Slash' According to Times

The New York Times reported today that “some reporters and editors at the Wall Street Journal” are calling their options “a choice between ‘trash or slash.’”“Trash,” by their definition, is the buyout offer from Rupert Murdoch. “Slash” is the possible bid by General Electric and Pearson – owner of the Financial Times.Some staffers actually prefer Murdoch:

“If you put a gun to my head, I’d take Murdoch over G.E.-Pearson,” the Times quoted one “senior editor” as saying.

The Journal's union, many reporters and journalists from other news outlets have opposed it.Still, the Times June 21 coverage didn’t reflect many positives about the Murdoch bid. The article admitted Murdoch is a “shrewd businessman,” but then added that his “motivations sometimes go beyond profit to include prestige and political influence.” The Times also mirrored some of the Journal staffers’ complaints by criticizing G.E. and its chairman as well. Both “have a reputation for wielding the sharpest of pencils, aggressively hunting for savings,” said the story.While it raised questions about both major suitors, the story left out the ongoing battle between the union and the Bancroft family. A letter from the Journal union, IAPE 1096, complained June 20 that “management started stonewalling again” in current negotiations.That came just two days after the union took legal action against Dow Jones, the parent company of the Journal. “Just a quick update on the fight for a Quality Contract: We have recently filed two unfair labor practice charges against Dow Jones,” wrote President Steve Yount on the union Web site. Yount has also openly opposed the Murdoch bid and tried to recruit left-wing billionaires to make a bid for the company.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.