Below you will find today’s WSJ front page. With Unemployment at a 4 year low and the Dow is at an all time high, things are obviously awful.

Hence, the reveal of the destruction of America’s best newspaper has now been completed. What was once Wall Street’s paper of record has completed its transformation into the paper of Rupert.


click for larger graphic

Source: WSJ


Hence, it is no longer useful to investors.

The Wall Street Journal was once the greatest American newspaper. Sure, the OpEd writers were insane idealogues, and there was the occasional drunk or pederast on the masthead. But overall, the quality of the writing was so good, and the objective look at business so sharp, investors could rely on it.

Today, Fox News seems to write the headlines. The influence of the partisan editorials has completely overtaken the entire paper.

In other words, to investors, it has become a gnarly mess of unreliable, EXPENSIVE partisan bias. Nothing is trustworthy on its pages anymore. The problem with this is not politicalrather, it is financial. (See my Washington Post article on exactly this topic, submitted on Thursday — before yesterday’s payroll data, and before this idiotic headline).

If you want objective, hard hitting business journalism, the role formerly inhabited by the WSJ has been taken over by the Bloomberg terminal and


But there is hope! Given the poor stock performance of the News Corp — unchanged since 2000, and marginally higher than when Rupert bought the WSJ — there is pressure on News Corp to unload their money losing “News” business. If and when that happens, you can remove your the paper from your quarantine list. Hopefully by then, it won’t be too late for the Journal.

For now, the paper is best read with a skeptical eye — and a sense of humor.



Murdoch’s WSJ Changes Creates Opening for NYT, FT (April 24th, 2008)

Read It Here First: “De-Financializing” the WSJ (April 28th, 2008)

WSJ Jumps the Shark (January 22nd, 2010)

Category: Financial Press, Really, really bad calls

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

38 Responses to “Wall Street Journal Fail”

  1. Bob A says:


  2. financeboomer says:

    I agree, it is really sad to see what has happened to the Wall Street Journal. But I think some of the columnists are still good, you just have to hunt around for the good stuff.
    Boomers, Markets & Money

  3. idaman says:

    don’ forget the FT

    nothing better than the Global Market Overview to start the day.

  4. Moss says:

    Well they still have an audience, just like Fox so I suspect they will still play to them. Many Republicans simply hate Obama and the Democrats regardless of facts. They stand by their principles if u will.

    I heard somewhere that if u want to live like a Republican vote Democratic.

    Agree 100% on Bloomberg. TV, Radio, digital.

  5. eroldictat says:

    Thank you Barry. with all your links to WSJ stories in your typical 2-a-day newsbriefs, I was unclear about your position on WSJ, whilst I — for the better part of 3 years it seems, have completely ignored the paper based on its newfound bias and dumbed-down content. I couldn’t agree with you more, both on the current state of the paper but also the nod to its former glory. I’m a little younger than you, but WSJ was absolutely formative for me in my youth and I have fond memories of poring over the pages and pages of stock quotes and wondering what it all meant, occasionally stumbling across a ticker that I recognized and dreaming about one day knowing how the markets worked and why certain companies succeeded and others failed… anyway, today I raise my coffee cup to the old Journal and mourn its passing into irrelevance.

  6. MarkKlose says:

    And Barron’s has become a tout-sheet to sucker suburban orthodontists. Sad, just really sad.

  7. Invictus says:

    I guess the “quarantine list” is what used to be the bottom of the bird cage when it was all dead trees.

  8. louiswi says:

    You nailed it Barry!!

    WSJ= just another subsidary of Murdoch/Ailes Sewage Inc.

  9. Stav says:

    the worst part about this is that I love my Saturday WSJ. But I pick it up, I laugh at Rupert’s headline, flip page see more of same. I like their recipes and stuff in the Off duty, but a stupid front page just puts whole thing in recycle bin. (BTW I don’t mind their ideology, just leave it in the OPED and Review sections).

  10. Orange14 says:

    Unfortunately the news report in the WaPo about the spin off indicates that Rupert Murdoch will continue to maintain control of the print stuff. I see no good outcome for the WSJ unless it is totally separated from News Corporation. I continue to give my good friend David Wessel a hard time for staying with such a losing venture.

  11. Iamthe50percent says:

    Absolutely correct, Barry. In the last few days, I’ve been quoting from stuff that I read in the Wall Street Journal, ranging from Mexican politics (an article outlining the platforms of the major parties and the biographies of the candidates) to a discussion of historical relevance of European relations and Common Europe. Your post forces me to realize that those memorable articles were all written in the ’80s and ’90s. I used to read it religiously on Fridays, even as a Democrat. More recently, it seems to be stereotypical propaganda seemingly written by Rush Limbaugh.

  12. Frilton Miedman says:

    While there are a plethora of great writers there, I ignore them rather than read between the lines of the editorial slant.

    As with Fox network, not knowing when an article or report is embellished or conveniently omitting facts is enough for me to avoid the source altogether, I haven’t the time to investigate the news, that defeats the purpose.

  13. end game says:

    March 9, 2013 — mark this day: finally, a notable blog or journalist has said what many of us have been thinking for a long, long time.

    Thank you, Barry.

    The emperor has no clothes.

  14. Robert M says:

    Thank you.

  15. Thomaspin says:

    I have been a subscriber for decades. I think you just put me over the top, Barry. Time to cancel.

  16. Read the biography on him.
    He will never sell the paper unless its necessary to buy the New York Times.

  17. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    All of the great rags are biting the dust. WaPo is next on the list. However, the loss of this one still hurts the most:

  18. not that the gist of the Post is Incorrect (the WSJ has, (un-?)believably, become, even, Worse, recently..)

    though, the ‘en-Stupification’, of “The Wall Street Journal”, began, long ago, under the previous Regime..during the ’90s, when it turned to ‘all things Fidelity/MutFund’..

    maybe, it’s, too, easy to sling more mud (not that it isn’t undeserved) at NewsCorp./Rupert, but, We may care to be aware, while ‘anointing’ BBerg & Co., “In the Land of the Blind, the ‘one-eyed’ Man is King..”

    differently, ‘Better than the Rest..’ doesn’t, necessarily, mean that it’s Great, or, even, any Good..

  19. CSF says:

    In grad school I had two professors, both self-identified Socialists, who subscribed to the WSJ. They respected its journalistic integrity: pre-Murdoch, of course. I’m guessing they don’t subscribe anymore.

  20. GoBigRed says:

    I agree. I still glance at the WSJ, but I probably do it for the book review section (as opposed to the daily book review in the A section that the above rant would apply to) for books I might by. However, it is probably better than Investor’s Business News Daily – if you want to get wacked investing, take their advice on the economy. My favorite paper to read is the Financial Times, I find they tend to get the most serious writer’s and, so far, they have managed to keep their integrity by not letting themselves be bought by Rupert.

  21. Time for a new masthead “Wall Shrill Journal” – @kcnickerson

  22. kaleidic says:

    The WSJ article is superficial and accepts the meme that unemployment has fallen, but the fact that there are “economic clouds ” is absolutely correct.

    As Karl Denninger points out, looking at the actual raw numbers,

    “Note that while the monthly trend figures are better they are not compared to last year. Last year the household unadjusted numbers said 740,000 more people were working. This year it was 614,000. That’s why the red line is pointing downward; when looked at over 12 months the picture is deteriorating, not improving.

    This, incidentally, is true over the last three months — the figures in 2011/2012 were -389, -737 and 740. This year they were -489, -1446 and 614. The trend shift happened in November, when we printed a -490 .vs. +83 in 2011. This is four months running of deterioration in trend, not improvement.

    It is true that the total number of employed people went up:But it is also true that the employment rate barely budged.”

    As Mike Shedlock points out:

    “After declining for years, the percent of those working two or more jobs is again on the rise.In the past month there was a surge of 679,000 in the number of people working multiple jobs. The seasonally-adjusted increase, as shown above, was 340,000. One can look at the data two ways.

    The economy is getting better and more jobs are available
    People are working more jobs because their hours were cut and they need a second job

    Evidence suggests more of the latter than the former.

    The reported 236,000 surge in the establishment survey is not real. It will be revised away.

    This is why: In the household survey one is either working or not, thus multiple jobs do not distort the reported unemployment rate (although there are many other distortions such as the participation rate and declining labor force).

    The establishment survey, however, is distorted by people working multiple jobs. A surge in multiple-job workers would artificially hike the baseline number. ”

    There are GOOD analysts out there, reporting on the reality rather than the propaganda.

    Furthermore, that the stock market has been artificially pushed higher by Federal Reserve printing is also not in question, as is the continued damage that this in fact does to the economy, despite the protestations of Bernanke and company. See the questions posed to Bernanke by Sen Corker and many other critics of FRB Policy, Jim Rogers for example:

    “Throughout our history – any country’s history – the people who save their money and invest for their future are the ones that you build an economy, a society, and a nation on.

    In America, many people saved their money, put it aside, and didn’t buy four or five houses with no job and no money down. They did what most people would consider the right thing, and what historically has been the right thing. But now, unfortunately, those people are being wiped out, because they are getting 0% return, or virtually no return, on their savings and their investments. We’re wiping them out at the expense of people who went deeply into debt, people who did what most people would consider the wrong thing at the expense of people who did the right thing. This, long-term, has terrible consequences for any nation, any society, any economy.”

  23. S Brennan says:

    Dunno Barry,

    I agree with your major thrust that Murdoch has taken another poop on another paper, but…

    Dean Baker is hardly a right wing nut…

  24. atswimtwobirds says:

    The funniest thing about the WSJ are the online comments. It’s a variation on Godwin’s law. No matter what the topic is somebody blames Liburals! Warmists! and Al Gore and for some reason polar bears always crack a mention.

  25. znmeb says:

    I never really read the Wall Street Journal, even in it’s “glory days”. It’s *always* had a right-wing anti-labor slant, but I stopped reading it because I’m a numbers / charts guy, and Barron’s and the Investors’ Business Daily simply do a much better job at that than the WSJ.

  26. albnyc says:

    The reporting is not (usually) the issue with the WSJ, even now, though they do tend to be more selective in the facts they employ than they once were. Editorially, it is akin to The New Yorker being taken over by Pravda, and written for eight-hgrade dilettantes.

  27. danm says:

    But now, unfortunately, those people are being wiped out, because they are getting 0% return, or virtually no return, on their savings and their investments. We’re wiping them out at the expense of people who went deeply into debt.

    First of all, historically, savers have often been destroyed. Think Weimar.

    Different times call for different measures. The capital markets are too big for the level of GDP, so instead of placing more money with misallocaters of capital, maybe they should become entrepreneurs. If people keep on giving their money to those who keep on raping them, obviously they still have a lesson to learn. My retired father keeps on complaining about the low rates… he was frugal and made good returns during many years. He got out of the market before it crashed and downsized before real estate declined. I keep on telling him that he should be thanking the spendthrifts for his luck. Had it not been for them and the printing, his net worth probably would not be what it is today. We all need to adapt. Unfortunately, many older people have been brainwashed into thinking that the gravy train would be here forever. For some reason, Americans don<t seem to realize that they have been getting a free lunch for a few decades now… at the expense of many other emerging market workers. There is another issue that not many seem to comprehend. There are too many boomers about to retire without enough money relative to the group of 35-45 year olds in the pipeline. Our system tends to work best when the cohort coming in is larger than to cohort that is retiring. It also helps when this new cohort has room to leverage. If I understand correctly, on top of being smaller, this younger cohort was loaded with mortgage and student debt and now has trouble getting jobs.


    BR: NO, “historically, savers have often been destroyed.” Can you give me another example where savers have been wiped out besides Weimar or Zimbabwe?

    You are claiming the outliers as typical examples. Thats a Fail

  28. farmera1 says:

    My headline would be:

    Wall Street Journal Jumps the Shark

    Used to read the WSJ religiously. Not much there anymore except BS, politics masquerading as news. It is obviously a subsidiary of Bull Shit Mountain aka Fox News.


    BR: heh heh — that was this post: WSJ Jumps the Shark I’ll add a “Previously”

  29. rd says:

    I saw that headline yesterday when I picked up the newspaper and my reaction was “Huuh?” Until about a year ago, I felt that the front section was generally walled off from the editorial pages. However, I think the last couple of of months of last year’s election is when Murdoch and the editorial board took a sledge hammer to the Chinese wall.

    It appears that the evidence is in that having Obama as a president means that economic recovery is not possible and that bread lines are perpetually around the corner until a W clone comes along to rescue the country (or at least the wealthy, which is the same thing).

  30. flakester says:

    Read WSJ, turn it 180 = get truth.

  31. VennData says:

    Maybe Rupert should read this artful gem…

    Why Investors Should Ignore Politics & Economics

  32. VennData says:


    You’r conclusion is “They did what most people would consider the right thing, and what historically has been the right thing. But now, unfortunately, those people are being wiped out, because they are getting 0% return, or virtually no return, on their savings and their investments.”

    BUT… If you’ve listened to the WSj and kept your money in the mattress since 2008, yes. But if you IGNORED the right wing pundits and INVESTED your money. You’ve done very well after the Bush near-depression that Bernanke and Obama have saved us from.

  33. Julia Chestnut says:

    I started subscribing to The Economist at 14. I also took Foreign Affairs, but that was a gift subscription – the Economist I paid for myself out of babysitting money (I was a very good sitter, LOL).

    I also picked up the WSJ down at the 7-11 on Fridays, starting at about 15.

    I am never sure if it is purely a matter of my getting older and wiser, therefore, but I see all publications as substantially diminished. I always thought the WSJ was biased on the OpEd page, but of course, they just sort of sounded like my parents to some degree. Now? I haven’t read it since Rupert took over, and I had it for free at the office for about a decade. I can get it free at the office now, but of course, I don’t bother.

    I do still read FT. I read all things Bloomberg professionally. I no longer subscribe to the Economist, and find it much less clever and informative than it used to be, but it is still one of the few (English language) sources of good, in depth information on some regions (especially good on Asia and Latin America, I think).

    Rupert mines things. He’s a destroyer of worlds.

  34. plantseeds says:

    I’d like to point out that unemployment was under 5% and the DJIA was also above 14k in October of 2007. We’re things so “obviously awful” then?


    BR: Yes.

  35. Livermore Shimervore says:

    WSJ is $2.00? 99% of that stuff you can get for $0.00 on !!!

    Also, Android/Apple users can stream Bloomberg radio for free.

  36. hlowe says:

    plantweeds, I am here to make the second dumbest comment by telling you that you took 1st!

  37. BDW says:

    plantseeds, if you were reading the big picture in oct of 2007, you were very aware that the world was in a shit storm, but I doubt you were.

  38. Pantmaker says:

    @ Danm and Barry- I agree saying, “historically savers have often been destroyed.” isn’t an accurate statement. The more important point to make here is a conscious preference has been given to bond holders of TBTF financial institutions and the financial institutions themselves by flooding them with taxpayer money. This administration policy has been at the direct expense of the needs of savers, especially fixed income, conservatively positioned retirees. The fact that these retirees have been spared “destruction” seems a cruel justification for these unconscionable policy decisions.