Thursday, April 14, 2005

Murdoch Muses, Abuses Alliteration

Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch spoke to the American Society of Newspaper Editors about "the role of newspapers in this digital age." It seems that Murdoch has only just now realized that young people use the internet to get news. However, our good friend Rupert didn't claw his way to the top of the Hobbesian information heap by brute force; he used his sharp wits and cunning marketing skills. He did not, however use what he learned in his high school English classes.

I wasn't weaned on the web, nor coddled on a computer

Didn't his teachers tell him that alliterations are like the fats and sugars triangle in the food pyramid-use SPARINGLY, or at the very least, sarcastically. I'm reminded of a line spoken by Toby Ziegler on The West Wing: "I [need] avalanches of Advil."

I love to hate Rupert Murdoch. It's been a while since I've really been able to hate on him as opposed to his many media holdings, so I was overjoyed to find this quote close to the end of his address:

Too often, the question we ask is "Do we have the story?" rather than "Does anyone want the story?"

As anyone who has ever visited the Fox News website can attest to, News Corp actually does need to address these two questions. Fox may well have "the story," but thanks to some appalling search engine technology, those who actually want it cannot search the Fox website to get it. On top of that, I find it beautiful and awful that Murdoch sees the rise of internet news as yet another reason to tailor coverage to some sort of market rather than a responsibility to the public good. The man wails to his comrades about how few people trust newspapers these days and then states that the way to regain that trust is by eschewing unpopular stories in favor of "news" that is, like, totally hot right now. Did his young, "digital native" daughters forget to mention that the internet has space for what people want AND what they might find a bit unpleasant?

Between this speech and a discussion that happened in the New York Times this weekend about the future of TV news, I'm starting to see an appeal to the dystopia of Logan's Run. Mark Burnett is the first one to go to Carousel.

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