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We are at a time when many news enterprises are shutting down… some tell you that journalism is in dire shape, and the triumph of digital is to blame.
My message is just the opposite. The future of journalism is more promising than ever—limited only by editors and producers unwilling to fight for their readers and viewers, or government using its heavy hand either to over regulate or subsidize us.
No, you are correct, the straw man of progress is not to blame. Those that think and use old models of thought are to blame. Vertical organizations built on authoritarian control from above limiting the choices of information usage based on a worldview of property that never held sway in the arena of ideas are to blame. If the old worldview is to survive, then we will all have to become slaves, not only in the marketplace of commerce, but to the marketplace of ideas as well. Horizontal networks are cooperative and share information and profit. This is anathema to old world greed.
Note the thought process here. It is all out war between private contenders. The interference of government imposing rules, such as ‘don’t let the pirates kill each other’, is wholly unfair to such winning combatants as Kevin Rupert Murdoch. The problem with this is that no man is an island and no one does it by himself or herself. We form an interdependent community that remains healthy only by a commitment to all.
From the beginning, newspapers have prospered for one reason: the trust that comes from representing their readers’ interests and giving them the news that’s important to them. That means covering the communities where they live, exposing government or business corruption, and standing up to the rich and powerful.
A bit of truth and honesty is always good in an opinion piece, though I think it might have been better as an opener.
Technology now allows us to do this on a much greater scale. That means we have the means to reach billions of people who until now have had no honest or independent sources of the information they need to rise in society, hold their governments accountable, and pursue their needs and dreams.
Yes, people need to rise up and hold the real government accountable, all those multinational business interests pulling the strings behind the scenes. Interesting how a half-truth is so much more convincing than an out and out lie.
… Some newspapers and news organizations will not adapt to the digital realities of our day—and they will fail. We should not blame technology for these failures. The future of journalism … [to] find new and better ways to meet the needs of their viewers, listeners, and readers.
So it is not the digital success, but the not taking advantage of it, that is at issue. What you are saying is that it needs to be harnessed. Harnessed means controlled, but you don’t want it controlled except by the pirates of the old model. When you suggest finding better ways to meet the needs of customers, what you mean is to bottom feed off the baser instincts of your customers.
…give people the news they want. I can’t tell you how many papers I have visited where they have a wall of journalism prizes—and a rapidly declining circulation. This tells me the editors are producing news for themselves—instead of news that is relevant to their customers…
Rome gave people what they wanted. That’s it; maybe we need to feed more liberals to the lions? Surely that is it. How could that be irrelevant? Keeping journalists with pesky Pulitzers working is not the business of a news organization.
His article then goes on for a bit stating how the old business model no longer working and explaining how he is maneuvering to make more money. Then, not satisfied with his empire based on winning court cases, he bemoans the FCC.
One example of outdated thinking is the FCC’s cross-ownership rule that prevents people from owning, say, a television station and a newspaper in the same market. Many of these rules were written when competition was limited because of the huge up-front costs. If you are a newspaper today, your competition is not necessarily the TV station in the same city. It can be a Web site on the other side of the world, or even an icon on someone’s cell phone.
And you have effectively been arguing this in court into a global monopoly for years. You have won the battle. Now what do you want? Full capitulation? Murdoch’s business model, like Monsanto’s, is model based on the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
After a few drum beats for the value of “free” market capitalism, he comes to this:
In my view, the growing drumbeat for government assistance for newspapers is as alarming as over regulation. One idea gaining in popularity is providing taxpayer funds for journalists. Or giving newspapers “nonprofit” status—in exchange, of course, for papers giving up their right to endorse political candidates. The most damning problem with government “help” is what we saw with the bailout of the U.S. auto industry: Help props up those who are producing things that customers do not want.
Yes, unbridled free market capitalism can sell you just about anything with the right marketing, even bogus gold coins, insurance, legal services, deadly chemicals, drugs and all manner of products we don’t need. The needs of the consumers are created in the same way the taste in the news is created by the selective attention of the broadcaster. It would be a shame (for you) for broadcasting to follow a nonprofit model and really make the news independent of politics.
The prospect of the U.S. government becoming directly involved in commercial journalism ought to be chilling for anyone who cares about freedom of speech. The Founding Fathers knew that the key to independence was to allow enterprises to prosper and serve as a counterweight to government power. It is precisely because newspapers make profits and do not depend on the government for their livelihood that they have the resources and wherewithal to hold the government accountable.
You mean like the news organizations being independent of big corporations like Monsanto? Anything that you say or represent when so placed must by definition fall within the purview of commercial speech.
Mr. Murdoch is chairman and CEO of News Corp. The [original WSJ] article was adapted from his Dec. 1 remarks before the Federal Trade Commission’s workshop on journalism and the Internet.
Dear Faithful Followers of Turn Off FOX:
First of all, we would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the pledge in our effort to educate others about the rampant and intentional distortion of the truth on FOX News and joining us in attempting to get it turned off as much as possible. We have received a number of e-mails, quite a few from people who support the cause, and also many from people who have been shocked that anyone would oppose the media arm of the right wing. Believe us, we have rankled more than a couple of conservatives, and that probably means that, with your help, we’re probably doing something right.
It could be that our articles about the fallacious statements and distorted truths on FOX News have simply disturbed too many people into denial. Here’s a review of some of our recent work:
Robbin Swad starts the article this way:
The Glenn Beck buzz the past few days has been the topic of … gold advertisements. Fueled mostly by … the Beck-bashing site Media Matters, the fact that Glenn Beck and his program endorse gold purchasing is now a controversy, sort of.
Yes, it is a real controversy, just not the one that people are considering. I do think that Glenn Beck believes what he is saying, as delusional as it may appear to be to any independent observer. I also think he is unethical about how he conveys what he believes. This is demonstrated by how he delivers his message. He presents what he believes in the manner of a carnival barker using whatever means necessary to hold the attention of his audience. By so doing he often helps create the situations that are the subject of his commentary. I am reminded of two Wormwood quotes from The Screwtape Letters, “Tortured fear and stupid confidence are both desirable states of mind” and “Suspicion often creates what it suspects.” It is not so easy to take some good ideas and twist them to follow Dave Bartley’s Law: Be suspicious of anything that works perfectly — it’s probably because two errors are canceling each other out.
If I make myself the beneficiary of life insurance I have on my employees, crowd them in a theater with my competition, then cry fire in the theater, not only have I moved beyond the bounds of free speech, but I have moved beyond the bounds of commercial speech as well. In a like manner, Glenn Beck attracts sponsors which support his half baked millennial conspiracy message because it is “good for business.” By investing in, and until recently getting paid by, those that support the fear message and encouraging others to do likewise, he has a stake in continuing to exaggerate his message of fear whether or not it has any basis in reality. He endangers all concerned by his unethical fire cry. Maybe we should be looking for dead peasants?
… Monday … Glenn Beck began his exposé on … the “convicted felon”– the other White House gate-crasher. … Robert Creamer… author of “Listen to Your Mother: Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win.” … suggested … Obama … following Robert Creamer’s plan … “trying to stir up emotion, revulsion and fear to peddle this massive government takeover.”
I have said many times about Right wing commentators, that they have no insight into their unconscious biases which lead them to project onto the Left exactly what they are doing as they project it. Glenn Beck is clearly following Creamer’s advice with his every sentence. Sadly it often works for him with the help of many others. Just consider Goldline‘s bottom line. The sadder thing is that he is protected as a commentator like the psychic who puts up the sign “for entertainment only” and like the many Glenn Beck satires that mimic his form and method perfectly, but can freely add any random content they please. Gold will do quite nicely.
… one day following … report by Glenn Beck on Robert Creamer,…the internet … titles like “Glenn Beck’s Gold Gate problem” and “Glenn Beck’s Gold Endorsement Goes Too Far For Fox” … attacking Beck’s gold advertising…
The issue here is not whether the man has the right to make money. The issue is whether he has the right to make money by any means possible. We can see he is not restricted to telling truth as an entertainer and commentator. The fact is that FOX NEWS has won it’s misinformation lawsuit and Glenn Beck could even be considered a reporter and legally lie like the rest of the Fox disinformation staff. So can he tell any lie to undercut his competitors and profit from the growth of his supporters with his lies or delusions? All of his accessories would tend to agree that he indeed can do this to their apparent mutual gain, but like any such scheme, politely called a bubble, it will grow until it bursts.
As for the propinquity of this gold issue coming up after the party-felon issue suggesting a causal relationship in this pissing contest, this is quite ludicrous. Correlation is not causation. Association is not proof. Maybe the Left wing blogs should have talked about all the Right wing felons working for the News Corporation the day after the event. Now that might have been causal. I have been blogging about the FOX geeks like Glenn Beck for some time, but many have been doing it since it’s inception.
Obviously not loud enough for her to hear that she contradicted herself. Either the gold gate issue just came up after the the party-felon issue or it has been something that has been talked about right along. Whereas, the strong articles like the LA Times article cited by the Glenn Beck Examiner below clearly showed that his monetary advice to individuals may not be sound economic advice.
That is a pretty loud yell by the LA Times that Ms. Swad just sidesteps. Moreover, Robinn Swad seems to be miss the whole point here. Glenn Beck’s viewers are free to make their own decisions, but if he backs his advice with huckster tricks that he profits from, can we really say this is ethical? And does the disappearing ‘paid spokesman‘ from the Goldline website make it any more right or just more suspect?
Nonetheless, concerning Glenn Beck’s alleged conflict of interest, Politico conducted an in-depth look at Glenn Beck’s endorsement of gold… various … hosts … advertise gold-buying, such as Bill O’Reilly, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Fred Thompson G. Gordon Liddy, and Dennis Miller,
From the “Right-wing talkers go for the gold” at Politico.com
“But Beck has recently come under fire from liberals alleging a conflict of interest. …The Democrat-aligned watchdog group Media Matters asserted the segment was a ‘reward’ to his gold advertisers, while liberal MSNBC host Keith Olbermann charged that Beck is ‘in it for the money. He keeps trying to sell people gold, largely because a disproportionate number of his advertisers sell people gold.’ “
The glaring statement here is that if you traffic in fear, then you traffic in gold. Also, by the way; diamonds, insurance, lawyers and sex seem to be a good bet too.
A look beyond the far-left attacks … seem to defuse the controversy– if ever there was one.
From the article entitled “Glenn Beck’s Gold Gate” on Yahoo news:
“However, Beck, who responded to the conflict of interest allegations on his show last Thursday by saying ‘So I shouldn’t make money?’, isn’t devoid of defenders on the matter. Business Insider called the controversy ‘nonsense,’ adding ‘there’s nothing wrong with a commentator advising viewers, listeners, or readers to take positions that he is taking himself. In fact, you might wonder about the motivations of someone giving financial advice he wouldn’t take himself.’ In Beck’s defense, some have also noted that the price of gold has spiked since he started at Fox News.”
Again this misses the point. The whole idea of the sarcastic statement of ‘So I shouldn’t make money’ is that it is value neutral. The meaning and its truth are in the ear of the listener. Yes, you should make money, but then so should the mafia don that just wants a taste. The objection is off whose back you are making it. If the Right is selectively attending only to what it sees as destroying their worldview, and advertisers that profit from that view flock to them, then we are left only with a self fulfilling prophecy which they are uniquely placed with insider information to manipulate and profit from the disinformation they promulgate.
Here’s more from the article at Business Insider entitled “Glenn Beck’s Gold Endorsement Goes Too Far For Fox”
“We’re not shocked that Beck’s role as an investor in gold himself and an advocate of others buying gold is drawning [sic] critiques from nattering nabobs of journalistic ‘ethics.’ …The presumption that taking money to endorse something corrupts the endorsement is basically a bias against commerce. Does anyone really think that Beck is secretly skeptical about gold going up and only advocating buying gold because Goldline is paying him? We didn’t think so. It’s far more likely that Beck is bullish on gold and found a way to make some extra money on that position.”
Another case of selective attention. Yes, the thrust of the Business Insider was to question the questioners of Glenn Beck’s ethics, but the idea that it was the ‘journalist ethic’ breach of not disclosing that you are invested in what you are reporting about is a red herring. Glenn Beck is not a journalist, nor is he a qualified financial adviser. To even attempt to give the appearance of being a financial adviser when you are unqualified to give that advice and to not disclose your financial holdings is unethical. Glenn Beck is a professional comedian, entertainer and commentator. For him to put on the guise of any other profession without a clear disclaimer and disclosure is unconscionable. Unfortunately, the FOX lawyers have made sure Glenn Beck “noncommercial” speech is not illegal. It is yet to be heard whether such commercial speech is illegal.
The article from The LA Times … also refers to Fox’s take on Glenn Beck advertising gold:
“Joel Cheatwood, senior vice president for development at Fox, told DailyFinance’s Jeff Bercovici that Fox had granted Beck an exception to its rule prohibiting news personalities from making paid product endorsements. Cheatwood said the gold pitches were allowed to continue because when Beck moved to the cable station this year, he already had an “established, burgeoning radio business” that Fox didn’t want to interrupt.”
The LA Times concluded … Beck’s audiences… will “judge” just how much they really care.
“Ultimately, the audience will decide whether Beck pushes gold out of real knowledge and commitment and not, at least in part, to pad his personal bank account.”
Glenn Beck Examiner wonders … [if Beck is] pursuing free-market capitalism and exercising one’s individual right to earn a profit?
I wonder if Robinn Swad really wants to go back to the days of the robber barons, where you were allowed to do just about anything to earn a buck? Maybe he should have Monsanto commercials? But more importantly she misses the point again, the real end of the LA Times article suggested that Glenn Beck should hope that he is not judged by the same standards he judges others. Judging from the early returns, I suspect the tide will turn on him soon.
If you see a Goldline ad under this article be sure to click on it and tell them what you think of the golden calf.
Last week, when asked about Glenn Beck calling President Obama “racist,” Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Channel’s parent company (News Corp) said “if you actually assess what he was talking about, [Beck] was right.”1
On Tuesday, after his endorsement of Beck’s race-baiting started to draw attention,2 Murdoch claimed, through a spokesperson, that he didn’t mean he agrees with Beck.3 It’s ridiculous — what else could he have possibly meant?
Murdoch calls the shots at Fox News, and he’s just made it clear that Fox’s problem with race starts in his office. Now that he’s been caught, he’s trying to play dumb — he doesn’t want to be held accountable for Beck’s rhetoric, but he won’t denounce or stop it either.
It won’t work, if we stand up. Tell Murdoch he has a choice — he can stand by the fact that he agrees with Glenn Beck; or he can tell us why he doesn’t and what he’s going to do about it. If enough of us call him out, we can create a powerful conversation about Fox’s race-baiting that will help us hold them accountable at the highest level.
Please sign the petition to Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same:
While Beck is the worst offender on the Fox News Channel, the network has a long, deep history of engaging in inflammatory racial rhetoric: attacking Black leaders, Black culture, and Black institutions.4,5,6 And a number of Murdoch’s recent business decisions suggest that he is consciously building a media empire — at Fox News and elsewhere — that attracts viewers by appealing to racial fear and paranoia.
Last month, Murdoch put Don Imus (fired from MSNBC for his infamous “nappy headed hos” comment) back on television on the Fox Business Network.7 And a few weeks ago, Murdoch personally fired Marc Lamont Hill — one of Fox News’ few black commentators — in response to a racially charged smear campaign led by a News Corp shareholder, who said Hill has “reputation of defending cop killers and racists.”8
Murdoch’s right-hand men
Murdoch chooses his employees carefully, and his agenda is obvious when you look at the people he’s chosen to run his media organizations.
Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, made his name by using racial paranoia to propel Republican politicians to victory, starting in the 60s. He engineered key elements of Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, and a notorious race-baiting ad campaign that helped the first President Bush defeat Michael Dukakis. Ailes was also the executive producer of Rush Limbaugh’s failed television show.9
Another News Corp property, the New York Post, led by Col Allan, also has a troubling record on race. Earlier this year, the Post caused an uproar after printing a cartoon that appeared to depict President Obama as a dead monkey, covered in blood after being shot by police. Instead of taking the widespread critical response to the cartoon seriously, Allan issued a short, insensitive statement that took no responsibility, and attacked critics of the cartoon.10
Last month, the Post fired a Latina editor, Sandra Guzman, apparently as retaliation for having spoken out against the cartoon when it was published. Guzman is now suing News Corp, the newspaper, and Allan. She says that the Post is a “hostile work environment where female employees and employees of color have been subjected to pervasive and systemic discrimination and/or unlawful harassment based on their gender, race, color and/or national origin.” Guzman says that Col Allan and others at the paper routinely made inappropriate sexual and racial comments. She also says that the paper’s D.C. bureau chief told her that the Post’s goal was to “destroy Barack Obama.”11
Holding Murdoch, Beck and Fox News accountable
When Murdoch publicly endorsed some of Beck’s most inflammatory comments, it seemed he was making it very clear that he approves of Fox’s race-baiting. Now, apparently after realizing how damaging it would be for him to publicly support the rhetoric that cost Glenn Beck 80 advertisers, he’s trying to backpedal. But Murdoch is not willing to distance himself from Beck either. He knows that he could face a backlash from Fox’s viewers if he appears critical of the racially charged programming that attracts many of them to the network in the first place.
So Murdoch wants to have it both ways — he wants to build a network that makes money by pandering to racial fear and paranoia, but he doesn’t want Fox to be seen as cable’s home for race-baiting.
We can’t let him get away with it. Murdoch made a mistake by speaking too openly about what he and his media organizations stand for. He rarely makes mistakes like this, and we need to seize the opportunity to expose Fox’s problem with race.
It starts by demanding that Murdoch explain what he meant, and be clear about whether or not race-baiting is part of the program at Fox. He may or may not respond, but if enough of us speak out, we can create a conversation that makes it clear who is ultimately responsible for Fox’s race-baiting. It’s just one step in starting to bring some accountability to the leadership of Fox News and News Corp — but it’s an important one.
Join us in calling out Rupert Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same. It only takes a minute:
Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
November 11th, 2009
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. Rupert Murdoch Interview, Sky News, 11-06-09
2. “An Open Letter to Rupert Murdoch: What exactly do you mean?” Huffington Post, 11-10-09
3. “Murdoch doesn’t consider Obama racist: Spox,” Politico, 11-10-09
4. “On FOX, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson and Mike Gallagher attacked Kwanzaa,” Media Matters, 12-23-04
5. “Matalin: ‘I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they’re keeping … their African-American brothers enslaved,'” Media Matters, 2-09-06
6. “Defending Bennett’s comments, Rev. Peterson cited alleged violence at Superdome to claim that most blacks ‘lack moral character,'” Media Matters, 10-03-05
7. “Breaking: Don Imus Joins Fox Biz,” TV Newser, 09-03-09
8. “FNC Liberal Pundit Marc Lamont Hill Fired,” TV Newser, 10-16-09
9. “Fox President Roger Ailes’ History Of Race-Baiting,” Media Matters, 10-30-09
10. “NY Post Defends Cartoon, Slams Al Sharpton” Huffington Post, 02-18-09
11. “New York Post Lawsuit: Shocking Allegations Made By Fired Employee Sandra Guzman,” Huffington Post, 11-10-09
FOX Newscasters Have Been Reduced to Carnival Geeks. Fox is Not News
Free Speech is only free when it is not backed by front groups supported by makers of products you are shilling. So the suppression of FOX NEWS would not be an abridgment of the right to free speech . Mascarade news designed to sell products is commercial speech, which is not free at all. If it is proven that you have unfairly undercut competition by misrepresentation, then this may be prosecutable.
In a similar manner news is not news unless it is separate from commentary and stands on its own without the filter of editorial talking points. To give the appearance that your opinion is news would appear also to be a form of commercial speech. If you promote a millennial point of view garnered only from tainted sources and advertise gold, for example, then this is commercial speech. It has also been said that FOX news only uses incestuous sources.
News also is generally reported without high drama and emotional appeals where possible. Reporting of “grassroots” organizations that are funded by billionaires with ties to FOX and orchestrating these “grassroots” organization’s crowds is being and making the news, but it is not news. Reporting entrapment you have arranged on a group you have done nothing but misrepresent and use their own information against them, is not news. Reporting this “news” with appeals that would make carnies blush is so abhorrent that I would say that FOX newscasters have been reduced to carnival geeks, but the commentators are the real freaks. When FOX backs a movements and a party based on fear, then they can only stand for fear and ballast reporting. Maybe they used Glenn Beck’s spelling for their slogan? So when they distort, you decide as they report all the news that fit to fake.
Fox is not news, nor is it entertaining. What FOX is, is reality TV gone wild. The cheap faux reality presented at ‘fair and balanced‘ FOX sounds more Orwellian than Orwell these days. All the expert pundits are just hired guns that follow the party line like good whore mongers. None of this is surprising as their conservative backers move more toward a fascism, politely called corporatism. The favorite media tool of corporatism is projection, accusing their potential opposition of what they are actually doing themselves. It is done preemptively at FOX lest anyone notice that Rupert Murdoch has no clothes.
Maybe a little history and a bit of smoke might help. Consider the parallels between Keith Rupert Murdoch and William Randolph Heart. They are astounding. Take such items as the illegality of hemp and Global Warming. Hearst championed hemp’s ban for the same reason Murdoch had the two reporters fired that did the report on Monsanto. That reason is corporatism. So how is hemp related to global warming? Monsanto now, like Dupont back in Hearst’s time, and now, have a vested interests in the illegality of hemp and FOX comes up with reasons to discredit anyone that objects. Similarly, Murdoch has a vested interest in global warming denial. This corporate bias can also be seen by Murdoch’s flip flop on the climate change theme after a corporate deal with a Saudi prince, he selectively had allowed some parts of his “news” organization to champion climate change skepticism, then they did a total turnaround. Obviously Murdoch’s ideals are only based on what he considers best to make a profit. Clearly for his reality, read news, to always have a Right wing bent, his world view must be one of a Reptilian shape shifter. The stories in Murdoch’s media, like Hearst’s media, are as real as they say they are. Their pseudoscience is firmly backed by the science of profit from human frailty.
Yet this is just the start of the parallels of Murdoch with Hearst and their strange mix of politics with faux news. They both inherited a struggling newspaper from their father. They both were leftist before they went right. They both made their name with tabloid journalism. They both have been noted as ruthless competitors. They both are warmongers. One can go on, but in the end we can reduce it all to one word: rosebud.
Other than that, why would anyone even consider boycotting Rupert Murdoch?