Rupert Murdoch: Feds Should Stay Out Of News Business, Except, Of Course To Smack Down Google For Sending Me Traffic

from the really? dept

Rupert Murdoch stopped by at an FTC workshop on the future of journalism to say that the federal government should "stay out" of regulating the journalism business. Except, in the same speech he said exactly the opposite. What he meant was that he didn't want the government to get in the business of funding journalism. Yet, in the very same speech he did say that the government shouldn't allow Google to link to his news stories, calling it "theft" yet again. Again, he didn't explain why he hasn't blocked Google if it's actually "theft." Not surprisingly, compounding these contradictions, he failed to mention (or perhaps recognize?) that the sites he owns do plenty of aggregating themselves. I've been told, however, that Arianna Huffington is making that point, though I wonder if Rupert stuck around to hear it. Update: Huffington has published her speech, which does a very nice job making the point.

Other points made by Murdoch include the bizarre claim that "advertising is dead" as a model to support journalism. You would think that someone who has lived through a bunch of ad market cycles wouldn't extrapolate from just a short period, but that appears to be what Murdoch is doing. About the only other explanation for all of this is that he's simply trying to confuse and throw off both the competition and the federal government -- but at some point someone should directly call him on his various contradictions and confusion.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Dave, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 10:50am

    He is trying to be controversial and yet show his true feelings at the same time. What this causes is a state of not know WTF you want to say and many times leads to contradicting statements. It sounds like he is trying to push the idea of Google being theft just to raise eyebrows while at the same time embracing that Google is where most of his traffic comes from. It's a classic move that will blow up in his face.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Ron, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Come on

    Im tired of this guy and hearing about his stupidity. If anyone from Google reads techdirt, please cut them off and make him understand already!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 11:20am

    It is theft, Trent Reznor said so. Now some might make the argument that Trent Reznor is not a lawyer or a judge or even a bailiff but he said that copyright infringement is stealing and we should all listen to him.

    We should also listen to Rupert Murdoch. We are raising a generation of thieves. Society should pay for everything.

    "Even the free things?"


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    sehlat (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 11:28am

    What Rupert Murdoch *really* wants

    Like just about every major business in the world, he wants the government to guarantee he makes money, even if it means he's using the government to perform armed robbery on his customers(us).

    The democracies of the world are plunging more and more into what has been called "reverse socialism," where the means of production own the people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 11:29am


    Rupert Murdoch hasn't paid for the air that he breathes. In fact, entire generations of Murdochs haven't paid, cut them off now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 11:30am

    This is nothing new. Every time that retarded fossil speaks, he contradicts himself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Monarch (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 11:32am

    Maybe there is not plan, and Rupert is just becoming SENILE! Occasionally happens with the elderly. Of course it could just be that his ancient mind can't grasp the communication medium called the internet. But as he owned MySpace, I'm marking it down as SENILITY!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Rasmus, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Re: Come on

    I second that! Please Google can't you just stop indexing all Murdoch's websites so he can't complain and we can move on to more interesting topics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Steve, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Yes people do pay for high quality content. The number of people that will pay does not appear to be 80% of the online world. It is much less than 80%. How many high quality content venues will the market support? What are the vertical markets that have the most opportunity? In the IP tech transfer market there are many many catalogs that are not covering their costs. Only a few of us in the emerging technology market appear to have the right mix of high quality content and paying customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Tim the Journalist, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    I guess it all comes down to how you define Feds. I remember released CIA documents showing Rupert's papers as VERY cooperative in penning articles for and reporting views that favored the position they were asked to support by the Feds...for free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 12:11pm


    >>We should also listen to Rupert Murdoch. We are raising a generation of thieves. Society should pay for everything.
    >>"Even the free things?"

    I am currently working on a price structure for the air you breath.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Rupert's Struggle

    I read something that CNN, New York Times were working on a few days ago. It was very smart and involved CNN, NYT and almost Twitter working together, focused on immediacy of news and stories.

    It was interesting because it seemed to allude to information and even reporter sharing between different mastheads. Rupert's struggle is that people somewhat know, and it's recently been proven that that his stories are somewhat altered to sell a preconceived narrative.

    Fox News, and potentially other NewsCorp outfits unfortunately won't be able to partake in such an information-sharing, virtual newsroom because it would more than likely break the preconceived narrative.

    Peer review and peer collaboration is the mortal enemy of the preconceived narrative.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Nick Dynice (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    I think the important point to make is that he is lobbying for legal enforcement of a business model not unlike what the AP was proposing earlier this year: to get aggregators and bloggers to pay for linking and quoting, and using moral panic language to make his point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Derek Reed (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    I get it!

    I think I finally get what that senile old coot is ranting about. He's upset that Google has become a starting point for news, that his newspapers aren't in control from the start. So Google has "stolen" that starting position. What Rupert wants is to destroy Google's starting position, and he thinks it's feasible for a large amount of newspapers to block Google AND that this will allow him to get to be the spring board again. He doesn't want to lose on the traffic he has now from Google because he does see the short term revenue from that. I think that's hilarious that its more short term thinking that's causing him to not move forward with his insanely idiotic plan.

    He doesn't want to take risk for long term gains, he doesn't understand that other search engines will take Google's place even if he did kill it, and he doesn't see that every newspaper removed from the conversation is just another opportunity for someone else (newspaper or otherwise) to step in and fill the gap. In his world, there is only Google and him and these one way viewer eyeballs and no one else currently exists or ever will exist.

    I think I finally follow his misguided logic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Does anyone know if his papers have RSS feeds?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    ahhhhhhh thank god for AC...

    proving time and time again why it is so vitally important to not be hittin the sauce while posting on the interwebs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Niall (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Huffington FTW

    I really love Arianna Huffington's way with words from her article:

    "So it's a false metaphor. And if you start from a false premise, you will inevitably be led to a false conclusion. Or, to put it another way, if you chug-a-lug too many of old media's metaphoric beers, you will end up staggering down the street of illogical thinking and banging into the lamp post of wrong revenue models."


    "The information superhighway is a busy thoroughfare and there's going to be some road kill along the way. But only among those who insist on merging into traffic riding a horse and buggy."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Christopher, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:35pm


    Lies are said for a reason. Maybe making pals with one aggregator to create a demand from the others (and hence sell access)... No point in lying, otherwise... unless you're a fool, and I never took a man to be a fool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:42pm


    I swear, that if you surround yourself with enough people with warped perceptions of reality, you'll get some on you. It's contagious!

    Truth is, I write jokes for a living. This current joke is 25 pages long has a title page labeled "Deployment Document", but it's really a warped version of "The Aristocrats". It's real great stuff, and makes me laugh uncontrollably.

    I need an "out" for the daily fiction I am paid to come up with. I've often thought the people I work with take their brains out of their heads and play with them, as if that's all they're good for.

    Sorry if I got any on ya.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Prince Manjee, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 7:20pm

    "advertising is dead"

    Ummm has Rupert ever been to 90% of the content is ad space or synergistic links to his other companies. Why isn't some one asking how a man this stupid and uninformed is in control of one of the most powerful and influential media organizations in the world. Reminds me of all those geniuses with Masters in Business Administration Degrees from Ivy institutions. All those smarts and expensive college educations propped them up to be the authority on our financial institutions and our economic policies. Yet some how will all those smart people our economy is nearly bankrupt. Not one of them had the common sense or the foresight for how to bridge the gap between new strategies/technologies and practical application. The fact is Google probably generates half his traffic and if he relies on Bing, which only has a 10% market share at this point, he will successfully kill his traffic. How on earth is that responsible management and fulfilling his fiduciary duty to his share holders. All he will do is single handedly open the doors for more aggressive competition from other struggling news agencies and worse yet all those little bloggers with their opinions that he hates so much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Prince Manjee, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 7:27pm

    Re: "advertising is dead"

    Or maybe someone should just explain to him what a "series of tubes" is... I think thats how you talk to that generation.

    It occurred to me all these authority figures above the age of 40 just get more and more out of touch with reality everyday.

    Ironic considering how many "reality shows" are actually broadcast from his network.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    KGWagner (profile), Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 2:09am

    I'm not a psychiatrist, but...

    I hate to make ad hominem attacks, and I'm not a psychiatrist, but the more I hear/read of what Mr. Murdoch says, the more convinced I become that the poor man is losing his grip.

    Doesn't he have boards of directors or advisors or somebody to sorta guide him along? If nothing else, get him out of the spotlight. Regardless of what people may think of the various media organizations he owns/controls, he's making them lose credibility by association.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Come on

    But that's the beauty of the whole situation. Google. Does. Not. Care.

    Murdoch and his news empire literally mean nothing to Google. The only reason they even appear on Google is because they exist on the internet. That's it. Otherwise, those websites are just a spec of storage space that happen to be relevant to a small percentage of search terms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    mv, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    wants free money

    Media has to change it's business model.
    Before internet, they were charging huge amounts to place ad in their papers.
    Nobody dared to say, it was stealing.
    Internet changed how many/all businesses are doing their business online and offline (brickAndMortar).

    BUT not print media, they refused to embrace it.

    Now they are paying the price for it.
    What will be the best model?
    I think it will be trial and error, like dot com boom.
    "The bravest and smartest will succeed."
    The problem is 'they' are putting too much importance on 'creating news'.
    Nowadays everybody:
    - can listen to police scanner,
    - have camera and you tube account,
    - tweeter for ever,
    - post blogs,
    - and everyone is 'so called' reporter now days.

    spelling errors are everywhere.......

    Greedy bastard......

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 12:14am

    Rupert Murdoch's War On Journalism

    This is a great video. I was skeptical at first, and wanted to give Rupert's enterprise the benefit of the doubt, but if you start about 8 minutes minutes in, it's very interesting, and applicable to current events.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    slander (profile), Dec 4th, 2009 @ 10:22pm

    Huffington actually said something worth listening to? Wow--just wow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    lucas, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 4:34pm


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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