What does the old guard at the Wall Street Journal think of what Rupert Murdoch (NWS) is doing to it? Who knows? They’re under non-disparagement agreements.
So the New York Times’ David Carr says it for them:
On Wednesday night, employees of The Wall Street Journal gathered in the Grill Room at the World Financial centre to bid farewell to Stuart Karle, the former general counsel of The Journal, a tenacious defender of journalism who is regarded as a reporter’s lawyer.
The event was held by Marcus W. Brauchli, the paper’s managing editor, who will be getting his own send-off soon enough after it was revealed last Tuesday that he would be stepping down just four months after Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corporation bought the paper’s corporate parent, Dow Jones & Company,
Mr. Brauchli, who had the look of the recently run over, stuck to prepared remarks…Mr. Karle then urged the journalists in attendance — along with an interloper from another newspaper who hung in the back — to continue the newspaper’s history of vigorous and unfettered pursuit of the truth. But there were elephants, big ugly ones, all over the room, chief among them that neither Mr. Brauchli nor Mr. Karle would now be there to defend that work.
Both men, who had spent their lives helping others speak truth to power, were unwilling to do the same after getting kicked to the curb. Each is under a nondisparagement clause as part of his negotiated agreement, so Journal reporters and editors watched the odd specter of a First Amendment lawyer and a lifelong journalist talking about everything except what was on everyone’s mind.
Plenty of other Journal folks were willing to flap their lips to Mr. Carr off the record, of course, and the message was clear. Marcus Brauchli is getting dumped in a trunk and shipped to Timbuktu Asia. The Bancroft family legacy is now represented by a potted plant 27 year-old opera singer. Murdoch can barely hide his mirth about the “Special” editorial committee.
At the same time, we do hear from at least one newsroom source, that these changes are all for the good. Anyone else care to weigh in?
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