reading: Crawford Hill‘s letter to the rest of the Bancroft
family, explaining in glorious detail how and why they deserve their fate of
selling out to Rupert Murdoch. (Yes, Crawford Hill is actually
a member of the Bancroft family, and not some local landmark climbed
during the annual reunion. Apparently he also goes by "Bumpy".) One
of many gems:
Chris Bancroft in a recent email (7.13.07) said the following: "We have
been given a responsibility we never had before. Decide the fate of a business
that has lasted over 100 years and is considered the best in the world."
Actually, Chris, we have had that responsibility all along. There is nothing
new about having to be responsible, active and engaged owners. We, despite
the attempts of a few, have not until very, very recently acted as successful
owners do. We are actually now paying the price for our passivity over the
past 25 years.
It’s undeniable that newspapers should be owned by people who take that ownership
seriously. The Bancrofts have, judging by their (in)actions over the past 25
years, failed that test. And even if they don’t sell to Murdoch, there’s no
chance that they will suddenly become the "active and engaged owners"
of Bumpy’s letter. On the other hand, every Murdoch alive is consitutionally
incapable of being anything but an active and engaged owner.
If you own a business, and you run it down, and someone comes along who can
run it better, you should sell it. That’s capitalism, that is. And I doubt anybody
on the WSJ editorial page would say any different.