Marcus Brauchli may be the most uncomfortable man in journalism right now. David Carr at the Times wrote in today’s about the leaving party of the Wall Street Journal’s formal general counsel. Both he and Brauchli have signed NDA’s as part of their separation agreements, and the consensus in the room, according to the piece, was that Brauchli in particular signed his integrity away for a price.
In other words, Brauchli should now be the whistleblower for journalistic integrity at the WSJ, particularly given his departure. “Whatever objections Mr. Brauchli made during his tenure, in the end he decided to open Mr. Murdoch’s wallet and close his mouth,” wrote Carr. Ouch.
I simply can’t believe that is an accurate assessment of Brauchli’s motivations. He is still a youngish journalist, who will rely on his credibility for his next move. He would have very little to gain by keeping quiet for the money alone. The acute disappointment at seeing his dream job fall apart (the job he may well have expected to spend the rest of his active career doing) makes him vulnerable to an emotional response that might not serve him, or his Journal colleagues, very well in the long run.