With little of note happening in what Times business columnist Joe Nocera referred to on Saturday as the "Mr. Murdoch Lusts After Dow Jones" story, the papers are forced to manufacture another angle from which to analyze the bid: Specifically, how will Friday's Page Six Payola revelations affect Murdoch's chances of wooing the Bancrofts? On the heels of a 1,300 word front-pager in Saturday's Times recounting the scandal—for which the paper was forced to reel back in former gossip-boy and current theater reporter Campbell Robertson—comes today's David Carr follow-exegesis. Carr believes that the decision to run the allegations in the Post itself can be traced to Post editor (and alleged stripper-sex receiver) Col Allan's unwillingness to get scooped by the News. Uberflack Howard Rubenstein also says that the Post wanted to get their spin on the story before anyone else did. Carr's column ends with a thought exercise!
It has been written here and elsewhere that Mr. Murdoch will eventually crack the Bancroft family's hold on Dow Jones. And if an owner were of a mind to use control of media to advance his own interests, that company would be a pretty nifty item to have in the tool belt.
Sure, when most people read the item on Friday, they probably just shrugged and said, "It's The New York Post. Whaddaya expect?" What would they say if it appeared in The Wall Street Journal?
It's a good question, although we don't exactly see Journal editorial page (essentially that paper's version of Page Six) editor Paul Gigot getting a blowjob in the back of Scores. Though who knows!
We have another theory—what if Col Allan were punishing Richard Johnson by forcing him to finally eat some (still-tiny) lumps in public?
In non-scandal related news, Richard Siklos—who must be getting as tired of this story as we are—checks in on the Murdoch family. Guess what? They hit a rocky patch a while back, but now everything's fine! At an August management conference in Pebble Beach, all six of Rupert's children from his three marriages were together. Happiness reigns supreme throughout the empire. The Guardian suggests that Times of London editor Robert Thomson is in line to edit the Journal should the bid succeed, which has got to put current editor Marcus Brauchli on the side of the recalcitrant Bancrofts.
Back to Nocera: The former Journal reporter's column suggests that the paper's stock was so low in the first place because the Bancrofts lack financial acumen and tend to buy into whatever management suggests. This is a problem because Dow Jones management tends to consist of journalists, who:
...tend to be terrible businessmen; they lack the risk-taking mindset that marks a good chief executive. Making the kind of big, bold bets that C.E.O.'s have to make all the time in industries undergoing wrenching change, like the newspaper business, just does not play to their strengths, which are observing, critiquing and finding out things.
Nocera predicts that there's no one besides Murdoch who will bid on the company, so the Bancrofts face two equally unpalatable choices: Sell it to him, or keep it and see it die. Fun times.