Market Failure

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The Economist offers its usual mix of interesting reporting and bizarre editorial judgment in its coverage of Rupert Murdoch's efforts to buy The Wall Street Journal:

Inevitably, given Mr Murdoch's reputation as a hands-on proprietor, there are fears that he would undermine the editorial independence of the Wall Street Journal's news coverage. But he is certain to understand that excessive interference could tarnish the paper's brand, the value of which comes from having wealthy readers who value honest journalism.

I'm reaching for the right joke here. I mean, obviously the same free market that The Economist is counting on to keep The Wall Street Journal honest isn't forcing The Economist to make sense. What's more, if a publication started infusing its business-oriented news coverage with rightwing politics would an Economist writer even notice? And where was this honesty-inducing market discipline when the Journal started writing all those crazy editorials and doing it over and over again for years? I think the situation's pretty clear -- Murdoch owns a lot of media properties around the world and none of them are known for their staunch commitment to editorial independence.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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