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Murdoch on Dow Jones & CNBC: Contract, Schmontract

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Adweek looks at the TV angle to News Corp’s acquisition of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, specifically the possible synergies for Rupert Murdoch’s new Fox Business Network. (Link via Romenesko.) What synergies? After all, Dow Jones has a deal that binds its employees to contribute only to CNBC for years. Unless, you know, it doesn’t:

The deal runs through 2012, and CNBC executives have indicated that they expect the arrangement to be honored no matter who owns the Journal.

Murdoch, though, has expectations of his own, which no doubt include that his newly acquired Journal and its more than 700 financial reporters and editors team up with the Fox Business Network that is set to launch in October in direct competition with CNBC.

“The CNBC contract is an obstacle, but we still think there are opportunities for the business network and the Journal” to cooperate outside of business news, Murdoch said during an earnings conference call that was dominated by questions about his broader Dow Jones vision.

“Cooperate outside of business news”? What, like on the News Corp softball team? OK, he’s not literally saying contract, schmontract here, but it is reminiscent of the philosophy critics say Murdoch has applied to past agreements to keep his hands off his papers’ editorial operations: namely, it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.

The other tidbit here is Murdoch’s assertion that the Dow deal “would immediately boost the credibility of FBN.” Assuming, of course, that the Fox News or New York Post connections don’t immediately diminish their credibility. All of which, to me, is further reason that Murdoch would want to be verrrrrry careful in making drastic changes to the WSJ anytime soon. But as I’ve said before, there’s a reason that I don’t have $5 billion.

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