Robert Thomson, Rupert Murdoch, and ‘anticipatory censorship’ at News Corp.

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Note to regular readers of The Front: Read Ken Auletta's profile of Robert Thomson in The New Yorker today (if you've got a subscription). What he ultimately gets around to, and which is written a little bit apologetically, as though he hadn't managed to find instances of Murdoch or Thomson pushing a political agenda on the reporting staff of The Wall Street Journal, is a form of self-censorship that occurs in the ranks at the company; this is the closest I've seen anyone come to explaining how a paper with little or no interference from its publisher and editor can nevertheless seem to carry a banner for them, something we've talked about a lot before in this space and in the context of the Post. It's what most readers of the Post who argue the paper has a conservative bias do not totally understand about the News Corp. culture. It's even subtler at the Post, I'd argue, than at the Journal, which at any rate had an unapologetically conservative editorial page (though that was thoroughly independent of the news report): we're in a New York City paper here, not a national one, and Murdoch has his social circle of self-made achievers and fellow city fathers to appeal to. The paper's sometimes defense of President Obama and Hillary Clinton and its seemingly positive attitude toward Andrew Cuomo become not exceptions to the rule of voluntarily carryint the Murdoch family banner but examples of it.

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