But by its nature, this kind of tangled set of facts creates an unending set of hall-of-mirrors questions. For instance, how does The New York Times keep that story off page one, especially in favor of “An Irish Taste for Real Estate in Manhattan”? Does this mean we have to ask whether that odd decision was a question of courtesy between top news organizations? Or was that Irish real estate story that good? (My interest in Irish-preference-in-real-estate stories being limited, I didn’t read it.)


The point is, Who needs this? I certainly don’t.


I’m just saying, Murdoch did the WSJ no favors—none—with his note to Steiger.


At a minimum, the note calls into question Murdoch’s understanding of journalism and journalists, if not the man’s common sense. Editors and business-side executives have different roles. This was not a close call. What kind of potential owner puts an editor in such a position?


And, once that information does arrive in an editor’s lap, the Audit does not believe that the best response is wait until CNBC, the “Money Honey” channel and your joint-venture partner (never mind; how many insider snarls can we untangle in one post?), beats you to the story.

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.