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WSJ Special Committee claims Murdoch meddling

Rupert Murdoch has been reprimanded by the Special Committee he himself agreed to set up to guarantee the editorial integrity of the Wall Street Journal. The committee was established after the exiting Bancroft family expressed fears about Murdoch's influence in the wake of his purchase of Dow Jones & Co.

A statement released by the Special Committee and signed by its chairman, Thomas J Bray, has criticised Murdoch's handling of the resignation of the paper's managing editor, Marcus Brauchli, last week (click here to read more).

However, the Special Committee's new statement sheds light on how the decision was made and details how Murdoch (pictured addressing the WSJ newsroom on the day of the takeover) effectively sidelined committee members. "Each member of the Special Committee received a telephone call from Rupert Murdoch alerting us to the fact that Brauchli had resigned," it read.

"Although our charter does not directly envision a process for dealing with a resignation, Committee members expressed the view that learning of the Brauchli matter after the fact failed to meet the letter and the spirit of the agreement."

When the Special Committee questioned Brauchli, he said he had been told that News Corp wanted to make a change in the managing editor. News Corp officials pledged to keep the Committee thoroughly informed during the process of hiring a new managing editor.

Brauchli resigned stating that the change in ownership was the motivation for his departure. He consequently agreed to take up a consultant position at the Murdoch family's flagship company, News Corp.

The firm released a further statement in which Brauchli said his departure was "amicable" and that he had "assured the Committee that his decision had nothing to do with any integrity issue at the WSJ."

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