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Doppelgängers: The Eerily Similar Pro-Rupert Murdoch Newspaper Editorials

Pro-Rupert Murdoch editorials have a lot in common. For starters, they’re all published in newspapers owned by or associated with Murdoch. Then, there’s everything else about them: their argumentation, their structure, their themes, their key phrases. It’s almost as if the papers are cribbing off each other, or some kind of master Murdoch defense document.

To be sure, not all of the News Corp titles have editorialized in defense of their owner. For example, the New York Post is going for a “hear no evil” approach, burying News of the World scandal stories on page 35. But those papers that have sided with Murdoch are doing so in eerily similar ways: The Wall Street Journalthe Moonie-owned Washington Times (twice), The Sun, The Australian (twice) and The New York Observer, which is owned not by Murdoch, but by his close friend Jared Kushner. All of their editorials have striking and suspicious parallels.

Echoing Titles.

WSJ: “News and its Critics”
Washington Times: “The Kultursmog against Murdoch”
The Australian: “Elite few spearhead the anti-Murdoch campaign”
New York Observer: “Murdoch and His Critics”

Murdoch opponents want to destroy press freedom.

WSJ: Do our media brethren really want to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news?
Washington Times: “Anyone encouraging the government of the United States to investigate a news organization without proper cause is an enemy of freedom.”
Australian: “This government and its coalition partner [are] trying to use the cover of the News of the World scandal to put pressure on journalists. …These are deeply troubling times for press freedom.”
New York Observer: “Politicians of both parties have had good reason to fear a phone call from [the press]. … The reason is Rupert Murdoch.”

Murdoch is good at making money, saving journalism.

WSJ: “News Corp. has invested in the product. … We shudder to think what the Journal would look like today without the sale to News Corp.
Washington Times: “Mr. Murdoch, whatever his sins, is a newspaper mogul. … Without such benefactors, good luck keeping a newspaper in business.”
Australian: “If Mr Murdoch had chosen to invest his entrepreneurial acumen in a business other than news … he would be celebrated by governments.”
New York Observer: “[Murdoch] happens to be a world-class visionary who has revived dying newspapers. … He has done this city a service.” 

Murdoch critics are petty, jealous competitors.

WSJ: “We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw.”
WSJ: “Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that [publish] Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.”
Washington Times: “The New York Times is bleeding money. … [It] published secret American intelligence documents hacked by the suppliers of WikiLeaks on its front pages.”
Australian: “No slur has been too tenuous to be debated earnestly by self-interested media and political commentators in this festival of schadenfreude.”
Australian: “There has been gratuitous venting against … a cultural or commercial rival.”
Sun: “It was obvious our commercial rivals and political enemies were desperate for it to happen...The story was fed to our eager rivals.”
New York Observer: “He is a big target for those who disagree with him—or who simply cannot compete with him.”

Murdoch critics are elitists.

WSJ: “The BBC and the Guardian newspaper [are] attempting to influence public affairs. …The prize for righteous hindsight goes to the online publication ProPublica.”
Washington Times: “The harassment of Rupert Murdoch is being executed by enemies of free speech.”
Australian: “What we are witnessing in Britain is a media coup led by a tiny gaggle of illiberal liberals.”
Sun: “Those same papers now sanctimoniously baying for The Sun’s blood gave [Gordon Brown’s infant son] Fraser’s condition [cystic fibrosis] massive coverage themselves.”
New York Observer: “The publisher’s oh-so-innocent enemies [are] assuming the moral high ground as they attack …the very character of Rupert Murdoch.”

Murdoch’s News of the World is just like the rest of Fleet Street. 

WSJ: “British tabloids have been known for decades for buying scoops and digging up dirt on the famous.
Australian: “News of the World [was] a racy London tabloid that was one of almost 150 News Corporation papers”
New York Observer: “The culture of low-brow British journalism finally has come under intense scrutiny, and it’s about time.”

Murdoch has apologized and cooperated.

WSJ: “News Corp. and its executives have apologized profusely and are cooperating with authorities.”
Australian: “Mr Murdoch had already conveyed the critical information and messages of contrition to the British public...The company has co-operated and apologized.”
New York Observer: “Rupert Murdoch has apologized, profusely and with genuine humility.”

Alex Klein is an intern at The New Republic.