There's something kind of funny about a blog entry around a recent article in one outlet indicating that another newspaper is working on an expose about yet another media outlet, but that really is what this post is about. According to Michael Calderone at the New York Observer, "The New York Times is currently undertaking a major news investigation, led by managing editor Jill Abramson, into News Corp.'s business dealings throughout the world, according to a source with knowledge of the project."
Amidst the heavily hyped negotiations between Murdoch's minions and the Bancroft family who currently own the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times has apparently decided to mount their own investigation in an effort to examine what should be expected from the possible merger. While there is no clear indication what spin the Times will put on the story, it seems unlikely that the paper will conclude that Rupert Murdoch is the patron saint of news media. The New York times is one of the last major independent media outlets (along with the Wall Street Journal - for now), and it's altogether possible that News Corp. may eventually set it's sites on the Times, so I think it is safe to anticipate that this article won't be a puff piece.
It is the rare occasion that a newspaper reports on another publication's work product, especially when the story has yet to hit the stands, but I think the editorial team at the Observer made a fine decision when they elected to cover this matter. Media consolidation has been rampant for quite a while, and it's naive to assume that such consolidation has no effect on the diversity of information available. Murdoch's maneuvering to control the Wall Street Journal is bound to have wide-reaching effects and far too little of the dialog incorporates the international perspective and it's important that someone takes the time to examine what effect the News Corp. empire has had on the rest of the world. The upcoming report may reveal information about Murdoch's dealing's that could dramatically alter the public's perception of the media giant. To that end, just the fact that the Times is working on this story is news in and of itself and worthy of the Observer's coverage.
Finally, if it weren't for major independent outlets like the New York Times, it's unlikely that these sorts of stories would ever see the light of day. Few outside of the juggernauts have the kind of resources to do such an investigation justice and not many independent outlets have the level of reach or influence that the New York Times carries. I'm looking forward to reading the article just as soon as it comes out.