Monday, August 13, 2007

Wall Street Journal Rove Scoop Hidden Behind Soon-to-Crumble Chinese Wall

Will Murdoch Find His Way Around Editorial Overseers to Break Big News on A-1 instead of A-15?

The Wall Street Journal is vaunted for its rigid separation of its news coverage from its editorial page, and for good reason.
The paper's turgidly conservative Republican viewpoints on anything and everything sometimes verge on self-parody. But they're nothing if not consistent, which can be a good thing, as today's scoop on Karl Rove high-tailing it out of the White House by Aug. 31 shows.
Under editorial page editor Paul Gigot, the editorials and columns have been unapologetically pro-Bush regardless of how untenable such a stance might be.
Which means Gigot gets his calls returned, or doesn't have to wait to make a call, when he needs the latest neocon talking points.
To wit, Gigot's article on his chat with Rove, where Rove revealed his plans. A scoop for a kindred spirit. Still, Gigot is vexed that he nonetheless falls short of BFF status.

"I've known Mr. Rove for 19 years and spoken to him hundreds of times. Yet I can't recall a single instance where he disclosed how his views differed from Mr. Bush's."


So, while this is arguably the lead story of the day, Gigot's piece appeared on the Opinion page, with a refer at the top of A-1 (the online version is labeled Commentary, which is absent in the print version, probably because it's below an Opinion banner. Actually, there's very little in the way of commentary in the piece).
Under the Journal's strict line of demarcation, he could not have transformed his story to make it suitable for the news report, which rang in with its own Rove article after he and Bush did the hug thing on the White House lawn.
Which is how it should be, given Gigot's usual role as reactionary Bush lap dog.
Of course, that might no longer be the case, once Rupert Murdoch gets his mitts on the Journal. Sure, he has alleged editorial overseers to ensure he doesn't trample over the Journal's standards and traditions. But whatever you may think of him, the guy is a newshound.
It's hard to fathom he'd let a story of this nature linger on a back page, Gigot or no, especially when he can leave The New York Times, The Washington Post and the other Beltway media elite eating their dust playing catch-up.

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