Murdoch declares war in the last great battle of the barons

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times are locking horns in the old press tradition. But the fight is looking increasingly irrelevant as their readership deserts them for the internet, writes Paul HarrisThe encounter had the makings of a deliciously brutal confrontation. Billionaire investor Barry Diller had given his yacht over to Rupert Murdoch for the evening. New York’s smartest partygoers were toasting the Australian-born tycoon’s recent takeover of the Dow Jones company and its prized asset, the Wall Street Journal.As they bobbed merrily around New York harbour, the mood seemed more one of celebration. But then Murdoch fell into conversation with Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the Journal’s arch-rival, the New York Times. By buying the Journal, Murdoch had parked his tanks directly on the NYT’s lawn. What, people wondered, would the two make of each other?Disappointingly, perhaps, there was no showdown, no baring of teeth or flexing of muscle. The two chatted amiably and Sulzberger assured Murdoch he need not worry about an editorial in the next morning’s paper, addressing Murdoch’s new purchase.

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