At 3 p.m. on Oct. 12, three days before the launch this week of the Fox Business Network, Roger Ailes gave a rally-the-troops speech to FBN rank-and-file, according to a staffer present. The Fox News president warned that the upstart network would encounter a doubting mainstream press, just as Fox News had over a decade ago. "Don't worry about what people may say about us," Mr. Ailes told his staff. Then he dug into his mid-1990's newspaper archives, and gleefully quoted from a notably skeptical--and, as it turned out, unprescient--assessment of Fox News' prospects. The article was from The New York Times.
Even as Rupert Murdoch uses FBN, his latest News Corp. project, to take on the existing business television establishment in the form of CNBC and Bloomberg, he and his top lieutenants appear to have one eye on the coming struggle with a more iconic foe. To Mr. Murdoch, The New York Times represents exhibit A in his case that the mainstream--that is, the non-Murdoch-owned--media ignores a certain viewpoint: namely, that particular blend of conservative populism, tabloid exuberance and capitalist cheerleading with which he has rewritten the rules of the news business. Now Mr. Murdoch, 76, is gearing up to use The Wall Street Journal to further that viewpoint--and in the process, knock The Times off its pedestal.