(Click Here for Part One)
For this Rupert Murdoch expects to invest another $200 million over the next three years. Murdoch’s take-over of the Dow-owned Wall Street Journal may not be quite complete but the mogul is reportedly already putting his stamp on the paper.
As a long-time WSJ reader, it’s apparent to me that recent editorial choices are uncharacteristic, and the quality of reporting and writing has already dropped.
Case in point: a thinly-veiled front page attack (disguised as a feature story) on the environmental movement, accusing the “movement” of brainwashing children.
The setting for the WSJ story was – where else! - Marin County, the County that Fox News loves to hate. And the paper chose to give plenty of ink to the Chair of the Marin Republican Party – a fringy, irrelevant figure.
In a sidebar, Stalinist psychologists dispensed advice on how to say no to pesky offspring who urge their oblivious parents to go solar or switch to compact fluorescents. (Never mind that our Republican Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the million solar home legislation and PG&E has been running an ad campaign urging customers to switch to CFL’s.)
After over a decade of subscribing to the WSJ and often calling it the finest newspaper in America, we’re about to throw in the towel. It’s a tough decision but we’ll probably allow our subscription to expire and instead support ProPublica, an investigative journalism start-up headed by the WSJ’s former managing editor Paul Steiger.
After the foundering FBN debut last week, remaining staffers aboard the listing Wall Street Journal are probably streaming down those mooring lines to safer ground.
The old WSJ thoughtfully explained complex financial matters in clear and understandable terms. But they never dumbed down material or treated their audience as if they were stupid. FBN should take its cue from the old WSJ instead of pounding the pavement of Manhattan in search of naked cowboys.
It’s just…embarrassing. And faintly insulting. Beneath FBN’s everyman veneer runs a vein of contempt for the common person they purport to serve.
FBN is at best paternalistic. They seem to assume that certain populations lack critical thinking skills altogether and must be spoon fed pablum. The channel plays into the worst stereotypes of the dumb, uneducated American.
I was born and raised in Iowa and this is usually a prejudice directed at populations living in fly-over states. It’s a syndrome I call fly-over misanthropy.
Viewers should follow Joe Nocera’s lead – mute the television. Better yet, set your cable television to Current TV (#107 here in Marin) where, as I’ve said before, twenty-something citizen journalists are burning up the screen with some of the finest news reporting on television.