Murdoch vs Google: Don Quixote Redux
April 5, 2009
Quite a thrill to read “
Murdoch Wants A Google Rebellion” by Dirk Smille in Forbes here. Forbes is the business magazine with the wacky Web site that befuddles me. This article has a subtitle that was almost a throwback to what made newspapers war fun to study. Either Mr. Smille or his editors wrote:
The media mogul says Google is stealing from publishers. It could be the call to arms that newsrooms need
I like the softening of the “newspaper war” metaphor to a “call to arms”. I waddled into this story with goose-like anticipation. Mr. Smille asserted:
Rupert Murdoch threw down the gauntlet to Google Thursday, accusing the search giant of poaching content it doesn’t own and urging media outlets to fight back. “Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?” asked the News Corp. chief at a cable industry confab in Washington, D.C., Thursday. The answer, said Murdoch, should be, ” ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ “
You will be hearing more about this challenge in my opinion. At one time, Mr. Smille upgrades a newspaper owner’s lament into a shotgun blast:
Barrel one: Google is stealing content. Keep in mind that the word “steal” means, according to my online and free dictionary
to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, esp. secretly or by force: A pickpocket stole his watch.
The use of the word creates a nifty duality—right wrong, black white, up down.
Barrel two: the phrase “fight back”. Google is in my opinion is on the wrong side of truth, justice, and the newspaper way. I have joked that Google is Godzilla, but Mr. Murdoch is taking this viewpoint and apparently using it to defend the traditional media empire from the predations of the GOOG.
Mr. Smille wrote what I think is an interesting sentence:
For now, newspapers’ attempts at gaming Google remain “rogue efforts,” says Anthony Moor, deputy managing editor of the Dallas Morning News Online and a director of the Online News Association. “I wish newspapers could act together to negotiate better terms with companies like Google. Better yet, what would happen if we all turned our sites off to search engines for a week? By creating scarcity, we might finally get fair value for the work we do.” Sounds like an idea Murdoch would endorse.
In my opinion, Mr. Murdoch has embraced the spirit of Don Quixote. The problem is that Google can move and windmills cannot. Another goosely thought: young folks are not too keen on traditional media in my opinion. Perhaps Mr. Murdoch will go ?after those folks too
Stephen Arnold, April 5, 2009