WSJ’s Alan Murray: ‘We are suffering from guilt by association’

As the fallout from the phone hacking scandal continues, The Wall Street Journal has desperately tried to maintain its autonomy from News Corporation. Unfortunately, when editorials that read like a press release are published within its pages, it makes things a little difficult for everyone there to do that (even if they don’t like the editorial).

Alan Murray, the paper’s Deputy Managing Editor, and a few other Journal staffers spoke to WWD today and expressed their frustration with the situation. Murray defended the Journal, even adding that Rupert Murdoch has made it a better place:

We do feel we are suffering from guilt by association. My feeling, and that of many here, is that this is in many ways a better paper than it was four years ago, and Rupert Murdoch and Les Hinton both deserve great credit for investing in us and supporting and encouraging good journalism here.

It seems like most of the staffers agree with Murray; that the criticism by Joe Nocera in the New York Times (he claimed that the Journal is now “Fox-ified“) was too much and that they often feel seperate from News Corp., even though they’re not:

‘We allowed ourselves to think for three or four years that, sure, we’re part of News Corp., but we’re separate and distinct from News Corp.,’ said one Journal newsroom source. ‘The scandal obviously underscored the notion that we’re very much in the same corporate camp as Fox News, The Sun and The News of the World and some of the other publications that maybe we don’t want to be associated with.’

This seems like a perfectly normal way for them to feel. Hell, even we want to imagine that the Journal is not connected to News Corp. and that the paper remains untainted by this scandal. But as more details emerge, and things get dirtier, how long can everyone’s suspension of disbelief last?