Dodd urges FCC to investigate Murdoch/Dow Jones deal

[Dow Jones]

Democratic Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Christopher Dodd Thursday called on the Federal Communications Commission to thoroughly investigate News Corp.'s (NWS) $5.6 billion takeover of Dow Jones & Company (DJ).

In a statement, Dodd expressed concern at the proposed deal and its "effects on consumers and the public goodwill be as a result of these types of media consolidation."

Dodd specifically highlighted the formation of a five-person committee whose responsibility it will be to ensure that The Wall Street Journal, currently owned by Dow Jones, would maintain editorial independence following the takeover.

"The very fact that the News Corporation felt the need to form this committee exposes the company's gross misunderstanding of journalism - it should be a given that The Wall Street Journal's reporting will not be affected by its parent company," said Dodd.

He said he feared there were "deep-rooted" problems with the acquisition.

It was members of the Bancroft family, Dow Jones' controlling shareholders, who pushed for creation of the panel to oversee the integrity of the newspaper.

News Corp. executives agreed to its creation as part of terms of the sale. Its five members were agreed to by both parties.

The board of Dow Jones recommended the sale to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., and shares controlled by Bancroft family members representing some 37% of the outstanding voting shares indicated approval of the deal. A vote of all shareholders will be held likely in October to determine the fate of the deal.

In addition to this and other newswires, Dow Jones publishes The Wall Street Journal and its international and online editions, Barron's, the Far Eastern Economic Review, MarketWatch, Dow Jones Indexes and the Ottaway group of community newspapers. Dow Jones owns Factiva and co-owns SmartMoney with Hearst Corp.

It also provides news content to CNBC television operations worldwide and to radio stations in the U.S.

Dodd is the first lawmaker to publicly call for the FCC to investigate the takeover. Wednesday, Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said he hoped the agency would do the same.

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