Rupert Murdoch Lashes Out Bizarrely Against The White House For Asking Congress Not To Break The Internet

from the get-your-stories-straight dept

While the lobbyists favoring SOPA/PIPA have decided that the talking point on the White House’s statement opposing SOPA/PIPA as written really means that the bills, as they are, are great, it appears that no one sent Rupert Murdoch the talking points. Murdoch, who has been personally lobbying Congress in support of the bills, took to his relatively new Twitter account to lash out at the President:

Of course, almost nothing in those statements is true. First, it’s well documented that Hollywood spends ridiculously more money lobbying than the likes of Google. Second, Silicon Valley is the heart of software development. Kind of bizarre for him to claim that Obama’s “paymasters” from Silicon Valley want to… um… destroy Silicon Valley. Third, nothing in the White House’s statement said that they were solely supporting the other side’s view here. They simply expressed specific concerns with the existing bill. Considering that they specifically rejected parts of the bill that would lead to censorship, excess private litigation and problems for online security… is Rupert Murdoch really coming out in favor of censorship, excessive private litigation and a broken online security system? Really, Rupe?

Next, when it comes to streaming films, it’s true that Google puts advertising around certain videos on YouTube. However, it’s not all videos, and their system (quite famously) allows the actual copyright holder to make the money from those ads, leading to a rather lucrative new revenue stream for many content creators. Furthermore, for years, people have mocked YouTube for losing a ton of money, so it’s not like this is a particularly lucrative part of Google’s business. As for filmmaking being “risky as hell,” so what? Lots of things are risky, but most of us don’t think that the government should censor free speech, break internet security and create massive undue litigation… just to make Rupert’s investments less risky. That he seems to think that’s a reasonable tradeoff shows just how Rupert Murdoch views the government: as a tool to funnel extra money to himself. Furthermore, his claims that it will lead to “less” are just laughable as well. The number of movies made per year has more than tripled in the past fifteen years, just as online piracy ramped up. Also, Nigeria, China and India — three countries known to have more infringement than the US — all built up huge film businesses over the last few years, despite all the infringement.

After thinking about it for a few hours, Murdoch went right back to it:

He later admits that he had a “damn you autocorrect” moment in that first one. “Optus” was supposed to be POTUS, but his iPad “changed it.” First of all, we haven’t seen any “anger” towards Obama over this — other than from Murdoch. Quite the opposite. We’ve seen widespread agreement (and surprise!) that the White House would actually dare speak out against Hollywood on an issue. And, once again, it’s insulting and ridiculous (but typical of the disdain the Hollywood old guard has for the rest of the world) to claim that concern over censorship, excess litigation and online security problems means “backing piracy.” As for the stats, it’s nice to see him use the 2.2 million jobs number, rather than the 19 million jobs that is usually thrown around (someone in Hollywood really needs to get Rupe the talking points memo on this one), but even that is misleading.

As was highlighted in an excellent report by Zach Carter just last month, the 2.2 million jobs number is complete bunk:

[The] 2.2 million jobs figure, however, exaggerates Hollywood’s contribution to the American economy. According to supplemental data provided to HuffPost by MPAA, only 272,000 people work for movie studios and television companies. The lobby group claims that an additional 430,000 people work in related “distribution” jobs dependent on Hollywood, legal web streamers like Netflix, the few remaining video store clerks and cashiers checking out DVD purchases.

But the vast majority of the jobs Dodd & Co. claim are threatened by online piracy are only peripherally related to the entertainment business. MPAA takes credit for nearly 1.6 million jobs at florists, catering companies, hardware stores and other industries that work with major movie studios, assuming that these jobs could not ultimately be out of a job without Hollywood help.

Yeah. 1.6 million of those jobs are not actually in the entertainment industry at all. Rupe, before you tweet, perhaps try learning the details of the “facts” you’re about to spew so you look a little less ridiculous next time.

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Comments on “Rupert Murdoch Lashes Out Bizarrely Against The White House For Asking Congress Not To Break The Internet”

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hothmonster says:

” Rupe, before you tweet, perhaps try learning the details of the “facts” you’re about to spew so you look a little less ridiculous next time.”

Mike, if you want him to learn anything just leave the info on the the voicemail of a recent murder victim or famous criminal suspect. That’s how he gets all his news.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Redditors

No, no, ppl like you are called suckers. Morons and other nice words. Redditors, along with the Wikipedia contributors and many others are all but suckers. They are what your legacy greedy industry cannot understand and because of that you fear them. You cannot understand the logic of money through free, it scares the shit out of you. But it’s happening everywhere. It starts with free and evolves into money. But you can’t grasp it. So you swear, scream and buy politicians. And Mike is your icon for this new model. A man that publishes his work for FREE and yet gets decent money at the end of the month.

Well, it’s said that once you reach a determined age your brain only loses neurons daily so I’m sorry for you. You can’t grow brains to try and understand what’s happening therefore your only option seems to be death and oblivion. Good riddance I say. Keep trolling, it’s amusing 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Redditors

from one anon to another…

yeah, user generated content is a scam. yeah, millions of us perform free and unpaid labor on behalf of the oligarchs who control facebook, google, and so on…

it’s still no reason to side in favor of SOPA/PIPA. piracy doesn’t hurt artists – the media industry does.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Redditors

“user generated content is a scam. yeah, millions of us perform free and unpaid labor on behalf of the oligarchs who control facebook, google, and so on.”

You’re a sad human being if the reward for that labour has to be measured in dollar amounts and nothing else. Still, nice of you to come here and put in the work free of charge anyway.

“piracy doesn’t hurt artists – the media industry does.”

This, however, I can’t argue with.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

what are you babbling about?

I quoted your statement and rebutted. What are you babbling about?

The horse and buggy analogy, although not completely correct, is analogous to piracy whether you like it or not.

Is this like yesterday’s post where I paraphrased a congressman informing you of itunes and amazon and inquiring whether or not you were retarded?

Since I didn’t post any comments yesterday – I really, really don’t know what you are babbling on about here either.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

transportation = music, movies, etc.

MODE of transportation = MEDIUM of content delivery.

Car, plane = streaming, digital files, CDs

horse + buggy = wax cylinder, 78s, 8 -track.

Since this is the argument I was making, I am not sure what your point is.

People still wanted transportation, just not the kind the horse traders and buggy manufactures wanted to provide.

People still want content, but they want it in the formats and quality they desire, they want to purchase it once and use it on any and all of their devices, they don’t want DRM and they don’t want artificial release windows. The legacy gatekeepers don’t want to provide any of that because it involves giving up control to some degree. If your customer is under served, they will find another means.

Now stop being a fucking dunce.

Whatever dude. Doesn’t seem like it’s me who not grasping simple concepts here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yet I’m pretty sure the move is away from dvds (the horse and buggy) and regional restrictions (th horse and buggy) and drm (the horse and buggy) to online, global and unemcumbered formats. (The automobile)

So who is failing at analogies?

They don’t want what you think they want.

They mega want easily, globally available content at a price consumers are willing to py with no restrictions. Its not about the movies games or music anymore. Nice job.

Suja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh look, it’s yet another dummy trying to deny the similarity of the MAFIAA to the horse & buggy industry.

People don’t want the horse and buggy anymore. They don’t want the MAFIAA’s outdated method of control either.

So, now you’re also in denial of, on top of a total failure when it comes to understanding, the accuracy of the analogy. Nice job.

ZeeBat (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually. I believe that “mega-want movies, games and music” means anything but what you think it means.

I’m quite sure that the mega-wanters could give a hoot if your business, and all that it has to offer, dropped dead today. You honestly believe that the world wouldn’t step up and bridge that pitifully narrow gap? Do you?

You seem to espouse creativity via your offerings yet you can’t poke your business plan out of a wet paper bag? Pathetic really, truly pathetic.

John Doe says:

Is my math right?

From one stat I found, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 139,415,000 (Nov 2010) jobs in the U.S. So Murdoch says 2,200,000 of them are related to the movie industry. So he is saying that we should break the internet and put at risk probably far more than 2,200,000 jobs for less than 2% of the jobs?

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Why let a small thing like facts get in the way of a good rant? Particularly when you own newspapers and TV news networks around the world!

of course, this is the same Rupert Murdock whose companies have been found hacking into phones in England. (So far.)

But at least he’s proven that he’s more tech savvy than most congresscritters. He knows how to use Twitter!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Murdoch is Robber Baron!

Filmmaking has always been risky, but their are more and better economic opportunities there now than ever. For every filmmaker whinging on about all the unauthorized downloads of their product there is another who has learned to adapt to the future and monetize the new distribution channels. I work in the business, and the biggest threat to my future is Murdoch and his lying cronies!

Anonymous Coward says:

You would think Rupert Murdoch would know better then to support a censorship bill. You see, Murdoch’s News Corp is one of the few foreign news sites willing to operate in China, where their news is mostly state run and heavily censored.

Murdoch’s China news company has gotten itself into trouble multiple times with the Chinese government for publishing stories their government didn’t like. I read that Murdoch has already gotten so frustrated with the Chinese government’s interference (and how his news company in China is still losing money and heavily lags behind China’s state run news channels) that he’s even considered bailing on his Chinese news company, because it’s just too much of a hassle dealing with Chinese censorship at times.

So if China’s censorship has been such hell for Murdoch, and gotten his company in trouble with the government multiple times (included threats of revoking their media license) then why does he think it’s a good idea to throw the same kind of censorship in place in America, where he already has the top news station (Fox News) and other top papers (like The Wall Street Journal)?

If anything Murdoch should be fighting to keep the status quo the same in the US, no matter how much piracy he’s suffering, he’s still winning in US media markets. Introduce the uncertainty of censorship on the Internet and you might lose the top spot if competitors learn to work under the new rules better then you. Or worse yet, with government censorship the government might decide to shut you down or start censoring a lot of your stories, which will give Murdoch even more hell then he’s experiencing in China right now.

Violated (profile) says:


I got to love that phrase “Silicon Valley Paymasters”

Let us not forget that the RIAA/MPAA pumped over $80 million lobbying money into Congress last year… their highest ever.

Obama and Biden have not yet had their meeting with the Tech Industry but some funds to protect the freedom of the Internet is not such a bad idea.

It also seems that Rabid Maddog (as I call him) ignores the vast Internet opposition. Yes here we are Rupert. *>WAVE

anon says:

Murdoch is a dangerous fool

Murdoch is an old fool but still dangerous. I am amazed at the stupidity of most people who buy any product (can his vicious manipulative filth be so classed?) connected with this megalomaniac. Will education ever be able to eradicate this basic flaw of human nature? But the best answer to this fool and the Hollywood/corporate world in general is NOT support them by buying or using what they push. For example are you one of the servile ipad owners – seems Rupe is!

DannyB (profile) says:

There's a word for expecting filmmaking not to be risky


If you make something artistic, great.

If you expect it to be vastly profitable, then good luck.

But there is no guarantee it will be vastly profitable. Trying to anticipate what the public will like is inherently risky. There should be no guarantee that they will pay whatever you want.

If I hear that a certain movie sucks, then I might be willing to see it at a lower price. Or not at all. If you don’t want to charge what people are willing to pay, then tough luck that they didn’t buy it.

Oh, sorry. The MPAA doesn’t want to fix their problems. They just want to whine about piracy.

Duke (profile) says:

Evidence backing up his argument

I particularly liked this tweet mid-rant:

Just been to google search for mission impossible. Wow, several sites offering free links. I rest my case.

Out of curiosity I did a Google search (in a “clean” browser with no account logged in), and the top results are the official site, IMDB entries for the various films, Wikipedia pages, reviews and links to the trailers on YouTube. You have to get halfway down the second page to find a link to a search page on IsoHunt, and the next “pirate” link is to tPB on page 10.

Now, I’m assuming by “free links” he means somewhere to download the film without paying (rather than a link you don’t have to pay to click on – possibly a poor choice of words – although maybe he does think that all sites should be behind paywalls like the Times’s), which suggests either he thinks IMDB/Wikipedia/Review sites are actually offering the film, he thinks his company’s own trailers on YouTube (where Google kindly hosts them for free) are piratical, or he uses Google so often to find free downloads that it has personalised his search page.

So, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s a hypocrite (or both). Sounds about right, as far as Murdoch and the Internet go…

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Evidence backing up his argument

Given how he put on his i’m a frail old man who doesn’t understand the news business dog and pony show for the hearing into his companies activities….

I find it perfectly believable that he think every “hit” on teh Googles is for a pirated copy of the film.

Or maybe hes stupid like that Canadian Band Manager who claimed the band had gone Gold from pirates stealing their work, because of the fake search results some engines use.

DannyB (profile) says:

Let's try a thought experiment

I pray to God this does not happen; but let’s try a thought experiment.

Imagine, just for a moment, that SOPA / PIPA are enacted into law.

The MPAA / RIAA starts shutting down innocent non infringing material worldwide. Either (1) as collateral damage (using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant) or (2) because the site is innocent (using a nuclear weapon to kill an innocent party that never was engaged in piracy).

Start putting people in jail. Extradite foreigners. Throw away the key. Label them as terrorists. Censor ‘rogue’ websites like YouTube or even TechDirt. Yeah, that’s the ticket.


Now a question.

What do you think will happen?
(A) Piracy will completely stop.
(B) Piracy will decrease.
(C) Piracy will stay about the same.
(D) Piracy will go deep underground and increase wildly.

(And no fair asking foreign dictators how trying to crush uprisings is working out. Keep your eyes on your own paper.)

Okay. You can wake up from this nightmare now.

John (profile) says:

A Modest Proposal

MPAA and RIAA studios, please take an example from the blackout of Wikipedia, Reddit, and several other sites planned for Wednesday.
Use these blackouts as an example for your own protest, and take a year off of doing any work to foster “content creation”, and any of the other things that you do, so that the citizens of the United States can make an informed decision about how necessary SOPA and PIPA are. I am certain that no movies will be created, and absolutely no new music will be recorded without you. That’ll teach us to not like your proposed legislation.

Karl (profile) says:


Whole entertainment ind employs 2.2 million ave salary 65 g

This is a really weird figure. If Hollywood is including the florists, catering companies, etc. in their “2.2 million” figure, then the “ave salary” sure as hell wouldn’t be “65 g.”

However, it’s suspiciously close to the median income for producers and directors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, there are only 98,600 producers and directors employed in the entire country.

Incidentally, even if he did include the music industry (he did say “whole entertainment ind” after all), that would actually bring the “ave salary” down. The median annual salary of music directors and composers is $41,270, again according to the BLS. And, of course, there are only 53,600 directors and composers employed in the entire country.

…Separately, Google responded to Murdoch’s tweets, accurately calling them “nonsense:”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Salaries

Also consider this, the *median* income for the Los Angles area is 69k for the 2011/2012 year. The average income stated could be higher or lower than the median (the income the average person makes, not the average of all incomes) but I’m going to assume the average is higher if they used it.

Murdoc states this as good jobs… I personally think of a “good job” as something that makes more than the average, not 5 or possibly even more than the average.

AuntiFUD (profile) says:

SOPA will pass Obama wants election jobs

Google: “”We believe, like many other tech companies, that the best way to stop (pirates) is through targeted legislation that would require ad networks and payment processors — like ours — to cut off sites dedicated to piracy or counterfeiting.” How much more “targeted” do you need Google? A URL in the bill?

Anonymous Coward says:

Hypocrisy at its greatest!

This from a guy who gave the okay to tap phones to get a news story.

Lets see.. Its okay to tap into a phone system and listen into private conversations. But, Google placing ads around questionable copyright material!!! THAT IS AN OUTRAGE.

OMG, how did this chump become so wealthy? He must have inherited it all.

Gee, thank you Mr. Murdoch for the lecture. Because your moral compass is far superior to GOOGLE!! LAWL!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:


“But at least reddit actually employs people. How many people does this bastion of innovation and job creation, Techdirt, employ? “

Damn right, Masnick show a list of senators and congressmen that you employ or admit that you contribute nothing to meaningful employment.
Show how much money you give to the MPAA or admit that you have no connection to producing original content.
Show how many jobs you’ve outsourced from the U.S. or admit that you make no contribution to the U.S. economy.

Time to replace the freetard term with plain ol’ Mike and his the alternative to more copyright enforcement is more jobs and business, magically bigger on the inside tardi supporters, now known as tardises.

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