Once again, The New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta, who invented the journalism genre I’ve dubbed CEO Porn, wastes valuable trees — this time, in a lengthy look at the Murdoch-Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal battle for ownership that doesn’t lay a glove on the media mogul. The only interesting anecdote Auletta reports is that some members of the Dow Jones board and the Bancroft family were unhappy with the pro-Murdoch role of DJ CEO Richard Zannino, who met with Murdoch on March 29th. “Some members of the family and the board were astonished that Zannino would even meet with Murdoch, and they were furious that he seemed to favor Murdoch’s offer” to pay nearly twice the share price for Dow Jones, Auletta writes. On May 1st, the day the story broke—on CNBC—Zannino presented what he called a ‘fact-based’ presentation of the pros and cons of selling, which upset some members of the board, and members of the Bancroft family, which controls the company. According to one board participant, ‘He gave a terrible presentation. He was talking about what a disaster it would be if we didn’t take this offer.’ Zannino rejects this characterization of his presentation but says, ‘To be honest, we’re all ﬂattered by Murdoch’s bid.’” Amazing that Auletta’s aptly titled piece “Promises, Promises” doesn’t dig up one new instance of Murdoch’s interference with the journalism he publishes. I hope The New York Times does better with its 3-part Murdoch investigation which debuts on Monday. After all, the Page One story begins, “Murdoch has used his media empire to advance his personal and political agendas…”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.