This News Corp. statement speaks for itself. It comes near the beginning of the second day of The New York Times series on Rupert Murdoch’s company, and it tells business-press readers all they need to know about about why News Corp. will—not might— will ruin The Wall Street Journal:

“News Corp. has consistently cooperated with The New York Times in its coverage of the company. However, the agenda for this unprecedented series is so blatantly designed to further the Times’s commercial self interests — by undermining a direct competitor poised to become an even more formidable competitor — that it would be reckless of us to participate in their malicious assault. Ironically, The Times, by using its news pages to advance its own corporate business agenda, is doing the precise thing they accuse us of doing without any evidence.”

Read the Times series yourself. It’s great. But even if you don’t like it, to attribute bad faith to the newspaper is outrageous. For a marginal benefit, if any, Murdoch is willing to drag down reasonable discourse. This is the mark, and last refuge, of a scoundrel.

Memo from The Audit to the Dow Jones board and the Bancrofts: Don’t do it.

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.