The surrender of AOL was a humiliating enough denouement for Time Warner, the old-line media conglomerate once imagined invincible. But there's talk it could get worse. What if Time Warner ceased to exist as an independent concern?

The Wall Street Journal's Matthew Karnitschnig imagines the company, including the still-proud journalists at Time Inc., as the pet of Rupert Murdoch, or perhaps of some dreary cable television provider like Comcast or DirecTV.

Maybe. As troubled as the AOL division was, it at least hypothetically had growth potential Time Warner's remaining divisions don't offer. But it's safe to say Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes (pictured) isn't going to sell to Murdoch without some ironclad protection against getting shanked by Murdoch's MySpace CEO Jon Miller, who Bewkes has repeatedly screwed over.