Well, it’s official: Rupert Murdoch (illustrated here in an episode of "The Simpsons") is the reigning king of corporate media and nothing sacred is safe from his grasp. According to The Wall Street Journal, News Corp has now secured enough votes to give the media mogul majority control of Dow Jones & Co., which also happens to own the Pulitzer Prize winning paper. Rumors have been swirling for days about whether the Bancroft family, which was strongly split, would agree to the $60 per share offer—a cool $5 billion in total—that has been on the table since the beginning of May (at least publicly). But today, a key Bancroft trust that holds 9.1 percent of Dow Jones’ voting shares jumped on board, which means that at least 38 percent of the family’s 64.2 percent in voting stock is now in support of the offer. Public shareholders, who control another 29 percent of the voting stock, are expected to vote overwhelmingly for the deal.
Other news outlets are just beginning to weigh in on the decision, but many journalists are already bemoaning the “unthinkable” decision, fearing that the well-respected paper will lose credibility, becoming yet another casualty of conservative bias along with the New York Post and Fox News. An MSNBC commentary posted online shortly after the decision was announced equated the takeover to hanging the Mona Lisa in a subway platform or draping the Statue of Liberty in corporate logos. “Murdoch will tarnish a journalistic jewel,” its headline reads, regardless of whether editorial oversight is changed. Many critics have accused Murdoch of purchasing the paper solely to provide content for his soon-to-be-launched business news channel. Perhaps that would explain why he’s gone after such a beacon of credibility; let’s just hope that this satisfies his appetite for a while.