Rupert Murdoch Gets a Mandate, and a Trophy

Amidst the acres of commentary on the Murdoch-Dow Jones acquisition this morning,

there’s precious little in the way of news or original analysis. The WSJ is,

as it has been all along, ahead

of the game, and reports the most salient datapoint: after all the worries

that the Bancroft vote in favor of a sale was stuck at 28%, the final figure

ended up much higher than anybody expected, at 37%. Which means that Murdoch

really can claim that a comfortable majority of the Bancroft family ended up

supporting the sale.

As for the punditry, the most contrarian view comes from Jack Shafer,

who has decided that Murdoch

is not a man with newsprint running through his veins after all, and that he’s

actually much more mercurial than that:

After extracting a bit of the Journal’s prestige value for his forthcoming

cable business news channel, I predict he’ll grow tired of the criticisms

and sell it off.

I’ll give Shafer good odds that will never happen. Rupert won’t sell the WSJ,

not ever, and neither will his heirs. In fact, I’ll go so far as to predict

that even if the Murdoch family eventually gives up control of News Corp –

something which will never happen while Rupert is alive – they will make

sure that they carve out and keep the WSJ first.

The Bancrofts are not a newspaper family in the sense that the Sulzbergers,

say, are. But the Murdochs are. And my guess is that they will continue to control

the WSJ for even longer than the 105 years the Bancrofts owned it.

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