This is Ishtarmuz’s rebuttal to : Journalism and Freedom :Government assistance is a greater threat to the press than any new technology. By RUPERT MURDOCH
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.