Schadenfreude? Yes or No? Discuss | Bleader

Schadenfreude? Yes or No? Discuss

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Murdoch
  • Murdoch

Profumo
  • Profumo
The Wall Street Journal weighed in Monday on the contemporary zeitgeist of American medial circles — those circles, specifically, surrounding and panting at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Said the editorial page of Murdoch's most important American paper:

"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. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur. They want their readers to believe, based on no evidence, that the tabloid excesses of one publication somehow tarnish thousands of other News Corp. journalists across the world."

My own view, expressed days earlier, was that Schadenfreude falls short. It captures the element of crocodile tears, but not the senseless gratitude that there's a bit of fairness in the world after all — the sort of joy to be seen on the faces of the Japanese players at the end of Sunday's World Cup final.

The Journal, needless to say, defended and disassociated itself from the ugliness mounting in Britain, where one Murdoch paper, News of the World, has shut down, top executives have been thrown overboard, the head of Scotland Yard just resigned, and the prime minister has much to answer for. A tawdry mess having nothing to do with us, said the Journal, though allowing that the scandal's outward ripples have cost it the services of its publisher, Les Hinton, who resigned. "On ethical questions, his judgment was as sound as that of any editor we've had," the Journal asserted.

It was a good, spunky editorial. It will make no difference to anything that happens from here on out, making it no different from most editorials that try to control the tides. I'm not sure Britain has seen anything so exciting since the 1963 Profumo scandal, and that one didn't jump the Atlantic. It was over call girls.

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