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Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Sheffield Admits Double Standard on NYT
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 6 NewsBusters post on Rupert Murdoch's attempted purchase of Dow Jones, a company with a dual-tier stock structure that keeps control of the company in the hands of the Bancroft family, Matthew Sheffield admitted that he has not held the company to the same criticism he has inflicted on the New York Times Co., which has the same structure:

Of course, the fact that [NYT Co. CEO] Pinch [Sulzburger] deliberately steers his paper in a leftward direction is what makes his corporate control a non-issue in the eyes of the left. The fact is the Bancrofts have been unique in the newspaper business in keeping a hands-off policy for media empire. It's also why I have refrained from criticizing their similarly cushy stock arrangement which gives them control of Dow Jones.

As we've previously noted, Sheffield has repeatedly criticized the the New York Times Co.'s dual-tier structure without acknowledging that other companies, including Dow Jones, have the same structure.

Sheffield also suggests that Dow Jones is unique in "keeping a hands-off policy" on editorial policy. In fact, most media companies generally don't dictate editorial policy. One exception that comes to mind is Freedom Newspapers, whose flagship is the Orange County Register in California (and also owns papers in Colorado Springs and suburban Phoenix); the company dictates that all its newspapers promote a ... libertarian viewpoint. Sheffield would be hard-pressed to find a "liberal" media company -- even the New York Times -- that's so dogmatic.

We once asked of Sheffield: If dual-tier stock is bad for the Times, why isn't bad for Dow Jones? We have our answer: Sheffield's political agenda. His railing against the NYT's dual-tier structure is meaningless because it's structually the same as Dow Jones, whose editorial policies he likes. Sheffield merely opposes the New York Times' brand of journalism and not that of Dow Jones and its notoriously right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page. 

In other words, it's a double standard. Just say the words, Matt ...

Posted by Terry K. at 4:52 PM EDT

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