The Wall Street Journal is controlled by Rupert Murdoch via Dow Jones Publications, which in turn is owned by Murdoch's News Corp. It published its first issue on July 8, 1889, under original publishers Charles Dow, Charles Bergstresser, and Edward Jones.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, parent company of HarperCollins and Fox News, purchased the newspaper for $5 billion on July 31, 2007, from the Bancroft family. Murdoch owns a controlling 39.4% voting stake in both News Corp and 21st Century Fox. It is a conservative, business-oriented publication, but it is less overtly political than Murdoch's other major media outlet, Fox News. The Wall Street Journal has two million readers in the U.S. and is among the few American newspapers whose circulation is growing.
The Start of an Empire
Murdoch inherited a small chain of Australian newspapers from his father. He grew the business domestically for several years, before expanding into Britain in 1968. He bought several tabloids, including the News of the World and Sun, before beginning his expansion into the United States in 1973. He owns the Times of London, New York Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. Additional holdings include Sky UK Limited, the largest digital subscription company in the United Kingdom, and 21st Century Fox.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial page has long been anti-tax, anti-government regulation and staunchly opposed to health care reform in the U.S. Despite its conservative leanings, the newspaper has supported open borders, globalism, and free trade. The Wall Street Journal has been classified by media bias centers as right-center, meaning its bias is moderately conservative.
The Wall Street Journal has been known for being anti-tax and anti-government regulation as well as being against health care reform.
Fair and Objective With a Slight Bias
The Wall Street Journal’s news reporting is generally considered to be fair and objective, and mostly factual. However, its news reporting is slightly biased, due to anti-science and anti-climate biases and the presence of misleading editorials. The Wall Street Journal also sometimes uses loaded words to steer audiences toward supporting conservative causes. Nevertheless, the Wall Street Journal’s low level of bias stands in marked contrast with Murdoch-owned Fox News and Fox Business Network, both of which are run by former political consultant Roger Ailes and are widely considered to be the voice of the right-wing of the Republican party in the U.S.
Recent Firings and Conflict
Despite its conservative leanings, the staff of the Wall Street Journal experienced some upheaval after the election of President Donald Trump in 2016. Trump’s election lead to strife and firings on the staff of the Wall Street Journal. Notably, Mark Laswell was fired due to conflict with the editorials page editor about how much pro-Trump content should be featured on the editorials page. Books editor, Robert Messenger, also left the paper for a more left-leaning publication.
After Rupert Murdoch's sons became involved, there was speculation that the shift might result in less conservatism.
Effective July 1, 2015, 84-year-old Rupert Murdoch elevated his sons James and Lachlan to executive positions at News Corp and 21st Century Fox. There has been speculation that the younger generation is less conservative than the older one. James' wife, Kathryn Hufschmid, works for the Clinton Climate Initiative, which is part of the Clinton Foundation. It remains to be seen what effect if any, the political views of Murdoch's sons will have on the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. (For related reading, see "Who Actually Owns the Wall Street Journal?")