Baron of more pressing matters

Most Village readers, especially those who notice the business pages, will be aware that Rupert Murdoch is taking over the Wall Street Journal.
You may also be aware of some fuss about that take-over from its journalists, and maybe even wondered why a paper so deeply invested in capitalism and with one of the world's most notoriously right-wing editorial pages would chafe at the Murdoch yoke.

It's simple really. For all the more or less blatant ideology, journalists know that the top business papers host some of the world's finest journalism, with money to spend on research and the facts as sacred as they ever get. Readers of the Journal or the FT or The Economist are deemed to use the publications to help make crucial and potentially costly decisions, and need to know the information in them is correct.

Despite his 'I just ask you to spell my name right' nonsense, Murdoch is well known to expect his journalism both to make money and to serve his interests, not just his politics. So it is not simply about a reactionary, imperialist world-view – with his whole press empire lined up behind the Iraq invasion in 2003, for example. Murdoch's interests are much more complex than that, but often boil down to how states and international bodies choose to regulate the broadcasting and communications industries, often involving the use of public assets.

Indeed, Murdoch's first instinct in recent years is to make friends in governments everywhere, from the communists in Beijing and the capitalists in Washington to the socialist in Drumcondra. If he can also offer, however subtly, the friendship of corporate America's most influential press organ – heretofore owned by a company without this sort of programme – then he will be a welcome friend indeed.