The Wall Street Journal has continued as the world’s most credible news source and one that refused to conform to the passing prejudice and error of the journalistic herd. Naturally the Journal receives ongoing abuse from the herd for its distressing independence. Yet, rarely is the criticism straightforward but rather an assault on the conservatism of the Journal’s editorial page, which strikes conformist journalists as an insult and is the real cause of the herd’s distress. Rather the criticism focuses on the Journal’s bottom line, its sluggish share price, and rumors that the family controlling the paper, the Bancroft family, is unhappy and about to sell it.
The rumors of the Bancrofts’ unhappiness are all highly exaggerated and quickly refuted. For this proud family whose ancestor, Clarence W. Barron, purchased the Journal and with it the Dow Jones news service in 1902 conceives of its ownership as a “public trust.” That is how Roy A. Hammer, a lawyer and trustee for the entities through which the Bancrofts control the paper, described their sense of ownership. This is not so unusual. Great newspapers have always played a major role in American civic life. I said “great newspapers,” serious newspapers, the kind that put gathering news ahead of sensationalism.
Most of the truly profitable newspapers in the country today are essentially shopping circulars with some cheap journalism printed on those pages not devoted to shopping mall sales. The great newspaper chains take over local papers, fire journalists, and set out to fill their pages with still more advertisements. Well, they supply a service. They let readers know about the price, say, of chicken at the Giant or snow tires at the CVS. But fewer and fewer local newspapers supply much news and analysis. Great newspapers do, and not one that I know of makes a vast amount of money.
Great newspapers do help to set the agenda for the nation. They break stories of corruption or on other vital matters. One of the few things I find admirable about the New York Times is that its controlling family, the Sulzberger family, is not intent on squeezing every penny of profit out of its flagship paper. Thus last week when I read a long critique in the Times of the Wall Street Journal’s management for its sluggish financial performance, I discovered hypocrisy.
The hypocrisy is all the greater coming from liberals who are criticizing conservatives for their alleged devotion the “Almighty Dollar.” Profits are essential to all businesses. For one thing they are a very accurate poll of the populace’s tastes, but there are other services some corporations supply to society. Both the Journal and the Times supply—at too high a cost—information that enlightens the citizenry.
1. The journalistic herd’s distress is caused by the Wall Street Journal’s _____.
[A] credibility [B] prejudice [C] conformism [D] professionalism
2. The Bancroft family purchased the Wall Street Journal to _____.
[A] sell it for a higher price [B] promote the Dow Jones news service
[C] dominate the great newspapers chains [D] influence American civic life
3. It can be inferred from the passage that great newspapers _____ .
[A] have to engage in a form of sensationalism [B] make a bigger profit than local papers
[C] supply much news and analysis [D] refuse to accept the error of the journalistic herd
4. The author says “I discovered hypocrisy” (Last line, Paragraph 4), because _____ .
[A] the Times was involved in corruption [B] the Times was becoming profit-driven
[C] the Times was attacking the Journal [D] the Journal was in financial difficulty
5. The author seems to believe that all the newspapers should _____.
[A] maxmize the profit [B] satisfy the public’s tastes [C] provide social services [D] inform the readers at a high cost
參考答案：1.C 2.D 3.C 4.B 5.C
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