'Times' Staffer Sez 'Journal's' New Publisher Is Secretly Editing

Remember the Howard Kurtz piece about how the New York Times and the Murdochifying Wall Street Journal have a little war going on, or something? As usual, Kurtz missed/buried the story. The Times refused to comment on bitchy things said by British-import Journal publisher Robert Thomson. But a "Timesman" apparently called up Toronto Life's Spectator blog to give his side. Huh. Maybe he thought his unauthorized comments wouldn't be noticed in a Canadian publication? "Whatever it says on the masthead, Thomson's the editor," Mystery Timesman reports. "He's moved his office next to the news floor." Murdoch will destory journalism!!! There's more off-the-record sniping and gloating, below.

The Times "destroyed" the Journal on the Bear Stearns story—no one is quite sure why JPMorgan Chase shut out the Journal, but they did. "When [JPMorgan Chase CEO] James Diamon went over to meet with the executives at Bear Stearns to explain the merger [namely, the low share price], it was a pretty ugly scene. [Times reporter] Landon Thomas had it all in the paper the next day." It is insinuated that Thomas was in the room for the ugly scene. No 'WSJ' rep was present.

Beyond that, the Timesman, taking a wry tone, suggested that the Journal had made some "odd decisions regarding story selection recently." For instance, on March 28, a short item ran in the Journal reporting that Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone had taken a kiss-and-make-up lunch with Tom Cruise, whom Redstone had fired a couple of years back. It's the sort of gossip item that would normally never see the light of day in a financial paper. The Times passed on the entire matter.

And though the Timesman didn't say as much, the implication was clear: while the Cruise tip may not have come straight from Murdoch, it sure smelled like it. When it comes to their money Journal readers aren't exactly ideological. If they get the feeling that they're getting spun that's going to be a problem.

Any speculation on who this anonymous Times booster is? Someone who might be Canadian, maybe?

Times 2, Journal 0: The newspaper war heats up over Tom Cruise, Bear Stearns and Murdoch's henchman [Spectator]