A Wall Street Journal editor goes off the deep end

Editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz's rant against New York City's bike-sharing program is generating little but mockery.

By Jonathan Berr Jun 4, 2013 3:45PM
A couple ride their Citi Bike bicycles from a station near Union Square as the bike sharing system is launched May 27, 2013 in New York
© STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty ImagesWall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz's ridiculous rant against New York City's new bicycle-sharing program has taken the Internet by storm, generating heaping helpings of mockery and scorn.

But it also puts Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS) empire in an uncomfortable position as it prepares later this month to split its financially challenged publishing business from the more lucrative parts of his empire such as Fox News Channel.

Murdoch publications such as The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and the Times of London will no longer be able to count on a steady stream of cash from the profitable enterprises to keep them afloat. The Post and Times of London have been unprofitable for years, which only adds to the pressure on The Wall Street Journal, where Rabinowitz has worked since 1990.

News Corp. has big goals for the paper, planning to compete against professional social network LinkedIn (LNKD) and financial data provider Bloomberg, whose news division has come under fire for snooping on company clients. But these projects may take years to come to fruition, if they happen at all.

Since Murdoch bought the paper's parent company Dow Jones for $5.6 billion, The Wall Street Journal has broadened its coverage into issues affecting residents of New York City. The results have been mixed. Some pundits have argued that it has lost its focus on business and economics. Other readers clearly enjoy the provocative stances taken by Rabinowitz, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and other members of the paper's famously conservative editorial board.

But a line exists between provocative and daft, and Rabinowitz crossed it. Her comments about "totalitarians running the government of the city" or that the "the bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise" were strange, to say the least. And the reaction on Twitter has been brutal.

Journalist David Frum, hardly a bleeding-heart liberal, said: "The Kulturkampf over bikes in Manhattan seems more obviously explained by age resentment (old v younger) than class."

Business Insider editor Jim Edwards chimed in: "WSJ clearly run by leftist stooges to make conservatives look crazy."

The  hullabaloo will die down, as it almost always does. Robert Thompson, who will become News Corp.'s new CEO, may at some point decide that retaining Rabinowitz will do The Wall Street Journal more harm than good if she keeps going on such rants. That point, however, hasn't arrived yet.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Tags: MediaNWS
Jun 4, 2013 6:48PM
So glad I live in rural Minnesota and not NYC. There is not a SINGLE NYC hospital ranked hgher than Mayo Clinic's St. Mary's.
Jun 5, 2013 8:58AM

 "WSJ clearly run by leftist stooges to make conservatives look crazy."


So does this means that conservatives lack the cerebral capacity to prevent themselves from being manipulated by loony lefties, does this explain Bachmann and Palin?  Does Jon Stewart really write Limbaugh's and Beck's material?  

Jun 4, 2013 4:36PM

Let's be honest: Who hasn't had a day with wrongly adjust meds?


Give the lady a pass--and a complimentary cranial injection!

Jun 4, 2013 4:39PM

Go ride your commy bikes losers.


What's next a shoe share program?


That's what 15% sales tax gets you I guess.

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