Thursday, May 3, 2007

In which the BBC sounds a bit silly

On Tuesday as I was driving home listening to All Things Considered, David Folkenflik (seriously, what is it with these reporters and their funny names?) did a great report on Rupert Murdoch's offer to buy Dow Jones and acquire the Wall Street Journal for a very large sum of cash. He immediately started by explaining that the Bancroft family, which controls restricted shares (or some kind of special shares that give them an outsize influence) of Dow Jones has turned down the offer, which is likely to mean that the board of Dow Jones will also turn down the offer. He then described the offer, the fact that it made Dow Jones' stock rise, why Murdoch would want to buy it, and what it would mean to consumer. Most interestingly, he interviewed a gentleman from T. Rowe Price who explained that if Dow Jones turned down such a generous offer, there would be a potentially huge backlash from shareholders who might even sue the company for acting against it's own financial interest, which could cause a long-term sharp drop in the stock price.

A couple of hours later as I was driving to C's house for TNFN, I overheard the BBC News doing an in depth story on the Dow Jones offer as well. However, in a story that seemed equally long, they only covered the offer and why Mr. Murdoch was interested in Dow Jones, leaving the listener (if they hadn't heard David Folkenflik earlier in the afternoon) convinced that the offer must be on the verge of going through. It was an interesting case where you could clearly see the difference in quality between the two stories. I have to admit, given the BBC's biased coverage of almost all stories regarding Israel, that I wasn't too sad to see them look a bit silly.

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