Newspaper Boss Says Newspapers Need More Money… Because New Media Steals & May 'Destroy Civil Society'

from the luddite-much? dept

Via Mathew Ingram, we learn of Alan Crosbie, the chair of Thomas Crosbie Holdings, a large Irish media conglomerate, which apparently believes all of this online claptrap could be on its way to destroying civil society — which is apparently why we need to fund more newspapers. Or something. Honestly, the guy barely seems to be making any sense at all. He says that old media property likes newspapers, radio and television are important and should get funded because they “produce good information.” But that new media “sometimes give credibility to news that maybe should not have credibility.”

It would appear that Crosbie is, well, confusing the medium for the message. There are plenty of newspapers, radio and television news efforts that equally (if not more so) give credibility to news that should not have credibility. That, alone, has nothing to do with the medium in question. And yet, to Crosbie, new media could be the end of civil society:

There is a tsunami of information coming from new media, some of which has the “capacity to destroy civil society and cause unimaginable suffering.”

Again, what does this have to do with new media vs. old media? The details come out later. Apparently, he just thinks that new media “steals” from old media, and thus old media can’t afford to produce their good news any more:

“The fact is that, to generate good information carries a cost. It requires money. Unless you steal it like most new media companies do.

“And, if you bring that argument to its logical conclusion all you’ll get on their news sites is a blank screen, because they eventually will have no one left to steal from.”

We’ve been hearing these arguments for years, and yet, somehow, it seems like more news than ever before is being produced. And rather than “stealing” from old media, plenty of new media sources are adding value to those sources (value that the old media folks could provide if they just stopped blaming new media). Either way, comments like these are the sort of comments that should make any board of directors immediately question what out of touch luddite they have in charge of their media properties…

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Comments on “Newspaper Boss Says Newspapers Need More Money… Because New Media Steals & May 'Destroy Civil Society'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Some background needed:

In Ireland you pay a “TV license” which pays, in part, for the national TV station RT? (Raidi? Teilif?s ?ireann). Currently this only applies to the ownership of a television, but RT? wants this changed to include computers, phones and anything that *could* be used to watch their broadcasts. This is currently being changed into a “media” license, so you get charged for watching RT? if you have anything that is capable of watching RT?. (Aside: I really hate this, RT? is a terrible network with substandard, dull shows, trying not to let this get into fact stuff here but you have been warned)

RT? isn’t very good and a lot of people don’t watch it, preferring BBC and satellite channels. RT? has also being accused of paying their presenters etc far too much.

This current license only funds RT?’s channels, TV3 receives no funding from this.

Alan Crosbie wants some of this newly to-be finalised Media charge to go to newspapers. Or more charges (Taxes) to be taken from the Irish public and used to support newspapers.

His attack on new media is an attack on the general public who is responsible for “new media” so he wants them to pay taxes to support his publishing organisation.

silverscarcat says:

Yes, we must stop the new media.

After all, remember how the robots came to life and built the Terminators to wipe us all out? Oh, wait, that was a movie…

Or how the aliens invaded, destroying everything? Oh, wait, that was a radio program…

How about how Dewey defeated Truman? Oh, wait, that was the paper making stuff up.

Surely the new media has done stuff to destroy reality as well. Like Occupy Wall Street, the Mid-East protests, the rise in people’s interests in television, books and movies in places they couldn’t get it before. Oh, wait, that’s a good thing, right?

Prisoner 201 says:

Dear Alan,

It can hurt a little when you go from being one of a few to being one of many. That little ache in the ego when you realise that you thought you were special just because few do what you do, not because how you did it.

To alleviate your pain, I recommend one to three frivolous lawsuits per month, and lots of new legislation. If this does not reduce the pain, I will refer you to Dr Masnick and see if we can get you a business model transplant.

SolEiji (user link) says:

To be honest, I at first thought it was some epic trolling.

What a shame, I thought it was a newspaper person making fun of the MPAA with an obvious silly example.

Then I realized he was serious, and I got sad.

This reminds me the time back in 2042, where the Internet Music Industry needs more money, cause Psionic Holo-Devices was stealing all the money through piracy and destroying society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sorry, was gonna write a short paragraph, but then my mind started wondering……..nothing here but random thoughts, please ignore, unless you’re in that frame of mind

What these companies need to do is use their profits to expand and include the internet, there’s nothing stopping them, instead of blaming and cock blocking the internet, use it for you’re benefit

As long as its user friendly, cheap or better still, free, offers features we want, or that are unique….. in other words, dont just slap something together, no half assed attempt, put the time and money, do it right, and more then likely, you’ll make something that people are gonna, notice, and applaud…….on the internet that usually means, free publicity, recognition, and consumers assuming you’re service is something in demand and you’re the best around………and when it comes to the internet, always remember that free publicity, can easilly turn to bad publicity, if you stop listening to you’re users, and start changing you’re service only for your benefit, which always seems to be negative for the consumer

We’re at an age, that companies who base their decisions on what the consumer wants, are the companies that are gonna have the majority of internet support, especially if you’re company’s internet based…….offcourse, different users, require different needs, as long as you research and cater to one, you should be good to go, and please for the love of god, dont start on other markets, whether competitevely or not…….as much as competition eats into you’re profits, consumers dont want to see that

Competition is bad for corporations, good for consumers, nothings gonna make me believe otherwise, as much as some companies would like me beleiving

Sorry for my grammer, spelling……..maybe a touch of big headed-ness……..random thoughts, and warts and all

Pete Austin says:

Seems we need more censorship!

Calling for censorship is OK if you call it a “regulatory function” to protect against “chaos”. As he says,

“We need to address the threat to humanity posed by the tsunami of unverifiable data, opinion, libel and vulgar abuse in new media. I know all the stuff about it being a tool of freedom and democracy, and I also know it has the capacity to destroy civil society and cause unimaginable suffering. Governments have a regulatory function in this regard, and they’re walking away from it because they’re afraid of appearing to be repressive […]

The fact is that – right now this minute – we’re living through media history at a time of shocking and total change. We’re at a point of choice.

Choice between retaining the best of what we are and do – our vital public service – or abandoning that most precious resource, information, to chaos. Grim choice. But then, an opportunity often comes dressed up as a grim choice.”

BeachBumCowboy (profile) says:

In 1953 Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, a novel about a dystopian future that most readers thought was about censorship. In 2007 Bradbury claimed the book was not decrying state sponsored censorship, but instead was rallying against the evolution of the new forms of mass media, television and radio, and the effects they had on the populace. The fictional state was just acting on behalf of what its populous wanted.

So, here’s an idea for all the novelists out there, or maybe today it would be independent videographers. You can create a future where the evil masses of people use the Youtubes, Pandoras, and Amazons to reach the populous. And the protagonists are underground corporatists fighting the status quo by trying to lock up all of the videos, music and literary works in their secret boardrooms, regain the huge profit margins and restoring the natural order of things.

Yet the futuristic state acts to protect the interests of the many against the greedy few. Now that would be a great work of fiction.

Michael says:


I love how Alan repeatedly refers to the internet as the ‘new media,’ blaming its rapid growth and competitive nature with the impending failiure of his own conglomerate.

“…capacity to destroy civil society and cause unimaginable suffering.”

Err, ok. Is he saying that because his own media no longer has the social dominance it once had that any alternative with destroy society? What utter nonsense.

saulgoode (profile) says:

The Internet confounds monopolies

A friend who is the editor of a small town newspaper expressed that he felt the Internet has had a rather beneficial effect on his paper. He suggested the availability of news on the Internet may indeed be to some cost to the major publications, but that his paper was largely unaffected, perhaps even benefited (coverage of the local farm auction or sports event is not on the Internet or, if it is, stems from his paper’s reporting).

While recently there may be significant lessening in the popularity of the major newspaper conglomerates, his own subscribership is up and there is greater interest from businesses in advertising in his local gazette.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Fund costs or profits?

“we need to fund more newspapers”

Serious question here. Is he asking for the populace to fund costs or profits? What is he getting paid? Did he give up something to fund his costs? If he didn’t where is his leadership. If his leadership is such that “You must hurt, but not me!” then he is not leading from the front.

What is the actual burden of society to fund corporate profits? What is the burden of society to fund the pay executives of non-performing companies when the executives are not making an effective effort themselves?

isaac Kotlicky (profile) says:

Did a double take... is a copytroll? Nah… Though the irony is hilarious.

But… but…
It’s a tsunami of information!
A torrent of data!
A media hurricane!
An explosion of details!
A flood of facts!
A deluge of discussion!
A squall of statistics!
A fire of figures!
A cyclone of knowledge!
An earthquake of news!


Jake says:


That’s insane. What about people who only have a dial-up connection, own a computer that’s too old to play streaming video reliably, or who’d just rather read a book?

And the BBC seems to manage quite well with a license that only applies to televisions hooked up to an antenna or cable service, which is enforced largely through the honour system at that.

Rikuo (profile) says:


That would be me. I rent a room in a 2-bed apartment. The owner has a TV in the living room and Sky Digital subscription and pays the TV licence in her name.
In my room, I’ve got a large HDTV and a computer monitor, but both are hooked up to my computer. I share the cost of the internet connection, and download shows I want to watch, or get them on Blu-ray/DVD. I don’t buy newspapers anymore, instead I use the program Calibre to download articles off of the Irish newspaper websites, convert them into e-books and auto-upload them to my Kindle.
What that paragraph above shows is that I in no way shape or form consume RTE media. And yet, if I was the one owning the apartment, I would be forced under the law to pay RTE anyway

Anonymous Coward says:

The is a very good reason that newspapers are dying as an obsolete news carriage.

When I get my information and news from the newspaper, it’s already a day old before I read it. When I get it from the internet, I can get it minutes old.

More often than not, when I read a newspaper I find it heavily weighted in whatever bias the newspaper wants to throw on the reader, something I might add that I got fed up with. Now at the very least I can pick my bias more in line with my beliefs or may even go for something without bias. With the newspaper I’m locked in and don’t have that choice.

I HATE ADS. Something newspaper’s never seem to get the message on, since they are knocking down income with it. I resent being spoonfed commercials. On the net I have the choice of if I see ads or not.

Since newspapers are being forced to change or die, maybe a few more trees survive eh?

I don’t have a problem with newspapers dying. Nor do a have a pet hog to feed.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Seems we need more censorship!

It would be funny if it didn’t mirror a lot of what was said about broadsheets (newspapers) in the early days of printing in Western Europe and elsewhere.

Broadsheets would be the end of civil society as they knew it, it would undermine the structure of society, broadsheets were vulgar and crude and no one was “fact checking” to make sure they got it right.

Broadsheets could be used to foster revolution as they recently did in the 13 colonies along the Atlantic seaboard owned by England. If we aren’t careful we could lose our control over places rightfully Spanish such as South America and the Netherlands where, by God’s will (well at least a well paid off pope’s will) we have been promised eternal sovereignty.

And, if we aren’t careful, on our northern border the uneducated rabble could be wound up to become another revolutionary force to topple our brother the King of France!

We must control media, ensure that the facts and only the facts get out there. Enough of this random printing press nonsense that brought us such soul destroying fashions such as Lutherans and Anglicans already!

(I’d tag this as sarcasm except that it’s far to close to the truth.)

Anonymous Coward says:

One of Crosbie’s complaints is that “One of the problems newspapers have is that we are all tarred with the same black brush that (Rupert) Murdoch has created. We are much less trusted than we ought to be.”

Guess what, Crosbie – just as all Internet users and anti-SOPA protesters are all painted as pirates, you’re not immune to generalisation. To paraphrase the advice that we are often given, go pound sand.

Anonymous Coward says:


‘RT? isn’t very good and a lot of people don’t watch it, preferring BBC and satellite channels’

Yes a lot of people watch other channels but the highest viewership of shows are RTE shows

‘TV3 receives no funding from this.’

In the last few years they have some received some funding since part of the Licence fee is diverted to the Sound and broadcasting fund which anyone is free to apply to and TV3 shows have received money from the fund .

As for Britain they are thinking of closing the current exemption to non live use of the BBC player .

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