I know that Rupert Murdoch wants to turn the Wall Street Journal into a national newspaper along the lines of the New York Times, and I guess I can understand why. Ego certainly has something to do with it, as does his desire to provide a national print platform for conservative views, similar to what Fox News does over the airwaves. But to me, appropriating one of the worldâ€™s finest business publications, which has over the years featured some of the best writing in journalism, seems like the wrong way to go about it.
The pain of this awkward transition from national business journal to national newspaper is evident today. Thereâ€™s little real news and little real business news on the Journalâ€™s front page. Front pages are the clearest expression of any publicationâ€™s news valuesâ€”what appears there is in theory what the publication considers most important.
Excluding the â€śWhatâ€™s Newsâ€ť box, there are no strictly business stories above the fold. In fact, the Journal this morning looks more like a print version of Politico.com than the nationâ€™s business newspaper, or even its national newspaper. Are the most pressing issues facing the United States right now Hillary Clintonâ€™s campaign cash situation and Barack Obamaâ€™s successful fundraising?
Somehow it doesnâ€™t seem like day-old political analysis is what Wall Street Journal subscribers are looking for before the trading day starts. Much more interesting from a Journal readerâ€™s perspective, I would think, would be the story buried on page A6 about why Mrs. Clintonâ€™s gas-tax holiday proposal never gained any traction.
At a time when more Americans are finding their news online, I think Mr. Murdoch may have seriously mis-judged Americaâ€™s appetite for another national print newspaper.
Better Political Coverage
Youâ€™re damn right my vote is for sale.
Meanwhile, in the â€śrealâ€ť Journal (AKA the Money & Investing section), the paper leads with Brian Clarkson resigning as president and chief operating officer of bond rating firm Moodyâ€™s Investors Service. Why?
â€śEnergetic and hard-driving, [Mr. Clarkson] earned promotions and encouraged Moodyâ€™s analysts to work harder at treating bond issuers better. Since bond issuers usually push for higher ratings and determine which ratings firm is used for a particular mortgage deal, Moodyâ€™s and other raters face pressure to use methodologies that lead to high ratings.â€ť
Because, you know, itâ€™s all about making the people who pay you happy so that they pay you more, as opposed to serving the broader markets. And that, as Hunter S. Thompson might have said, summarizes the credit crunch for people with seriously short attention spans.
Yesterdayâ€™s Quote of the Day
â€śI would never have imaged that a few hundred million dollars was an insufficient amount to retain somebody.â€ť â€“ Noam Gottesman, chairman and co-chief executive of GLG Partners, on the departure of portfolio manager Greg Coffey. Gottesman made the remark during an earnings conference call.