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WASHINGTON -- News reports today indicate that the Bancroft family will accept Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion bid for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. Media scholar and Free Press President Robert W. McChesney made the following statement:

"This takeover is bad news for anyone who cares about quality journalism and a healthy democracy. Giving any single company -- let alone one controlled by Rupert Murdoch -- this much media power is unconscionable.

"Media consolidation has replaced investigative journalism with infotainment, foreign affairs reporting with fluff, and local coverage with cookie-cutter content. Contrary to industry spin, emerging Internet outlets fail to offset consolidation's effect on journalism. Now Murdoch will control a broadcast network, a cable news channel and a national newspaper -- three of the small handful of outlets that set our national news agenda.

"Rupert Murdoch -- who has never hesitated to use his pulpit to advance his own ideological and business interests -- won't change his ways. But we can change the policies that allow companies like News Corp. to dominate our media.

"We can only hope the culmination of this deal is the wake-up call Washington needs to start rolling back media consolidation. The first step is to pass new 'cross-ownership' laws that would prevent the owner of a national television network from owning a national daily newspaper.

"Murdoch's empire wouldn't exist if he hadn't been aided and abetted by Washington policymakers in Congress and at the FCC. Only by restoring public input in the policy-making process can we create the kind of diverse, accessible and independent media that journalism -- and our democracy -- so desperately needs."

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