For background, please see these three past items: first (illustrated at right), second, and third. They compare the play and headlines of stories in three major papers -- the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal -- and together suggest what was to me a surprising conclusion. Namely, that the WSJ's news coverage, which for decades has seemed independent from the Journal's editorial pages, is increasingly conforming with the editorial line. My China-beat buddies will recognize the term "harmonization" for this reining-in of unauthorized views.
- Hypothesis: Under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch and the editorship of Robert Thomson, the Journal is deliberately bringing its news operations into closer alignment with its editorial views.
- Sub-hypothesis: You don't see this shift in the line-by-line content of the stories themselves but rather in the headlines, subheads, and placement of the stories in the paper. That is, we're looking at editors' work rather than reporters'.