Saturday, August 04, 2007

mitts off rupert!

He claims he just loves newspapers. And with the acquisition of the 118-year-old Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch is finally close to realizing his dream of owning a global business brand.

Now he’s targeting the Financial Times. Analysts say he’s talking MySpace to attract new audiences, and the cross-revenue advertising dollars that come with them. And that he can afford to run several newspapers at a loss for many years to come, just to knock the competition off the block. In addition, Murdoch’s still running flat out to beat Google in the race for the world.

Well good for Mr. Murdoch … good for free enterprise.

But when that free-enterprise becomes a monopoly, what does that mean to the media at large, and to the information that we—the punters—are fed on a minute-by-minute basis? What does it mean to journalists (amongst whom I count myself) who still believe in freedom of the press: The code of ethics to seek and report the truth, to minimize harm, to act independently, and to be accountable—no matter what.

What does it mean to freeagents? To writers, artists, graphic designers, photographers who all end up working for the same half-dozen conglomerates, regardless of the name pasted on the front of the magazine, newspaper, DVD case, or book jacket.

As we see fewer independent media outlets, and we're cattle-fed monopoly-driven content, society becomes more homogenized, and cultures less diversified.

We have less choice about where we get our information, ergo, less choice about where we offer our services. And less freedom of input, equals less freedom of output. Less freedom of exchange of thoughts and ideas. Less learning. Less creativity.

(Remember the proletarians of George Orwell’s 1984? A severe example of machinations at work, I agree, but the story delivers a powerful image.)

So, all politics aside—because I refuse to be labeled by a blue ass or a red elephant—I say, enough’s enough Mr. Murdoch. Keep your greedy mitts off the Financial Times!


15 comments:

Cazzie!!! said...

It so is not fair is it? Could te independant writers and so forth band together to make a Global Market NEWS service at all? Or would that be too difficult?

peteknowles said...

Great post Bibi. The big get bigger and the small get screwed. Affects every aspect of American life today.

Becca said...

The homogenization of our culture is frightening, and Murdoch's pursuit of more media ventures is typical of the way large conglomerates absorb the individual voices.

Eventual revolution may be in order~hark back to the spirit of 1776!

Ian Lidster said...

Hear-hear! And I'll repeat, hear-hear. As a toiler in the same trade as you I am not only irate with what news services have become -- devoting their energies to pop-star pap rather than hard news, but am also ashamed of those in our trade who bow down to this pandering, and devote the rest of their time to parroting official lines rather than honest analysis. I'm thoroughly with you in this, dear Vicki.
Ian

Ant said...

Which is why blogging, otherwise labelled as the "democratization of the written word" is such a wonderful thing...

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments but suggest that it is Google who you should be more worried about. They know everything about you. Everything. They have in their logs immensely powerful statistics about online activities and are devising ever smarter ways to survey the behaviour of everyone online. Their tools are the ultimate in a surveillance society.

1984 scared the absolute shite out of me when I read it several years ago. It's imagery is no less potent now, and becomes more of a reality every day...

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Amen to that.

Perhaps the internet is the last true bastion of public free speech?

Will Murdoch's appetite ever be sated?

dinahmow said...

I agree with Ian Lidster.
If Rupert buys Al Jazeera we can snuff the candle!

Bibi said...

Cazzie, well I think people try but it always boils down to money talks and money takes over ...

Pete, I know you went through this firsthand.

Becca, it is frightening isn't it. Call me old fashioined, but I still haven't gotten over the Euro eradicated francs and deutschmarks and lire ... it's the differences that make life interesting!

Bibi said...

Ian, yes. We've been inundated with Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie, but it wasn't until I watched BBC at 1am that I knew about the worst floods in living memory in Asia. Our 'news' priorities are so cockeyed.

Ant, you make very good points. Re blogging and Google. Do they think they've 'red-flagged' us now? LOL.

Toast, I don't think so ...

Dinahmow, oh my, that doesn't even bear thinking about! Could you imagine ...

deirdre said...

I've been bothered for a while about the monopolization of news. It doesn't seem right to have just a few entities decided what we get to know about. I gives me the creeps.

Pamela said...

He may fall hard.
times are changing.

kj said...

if bibi says lay off, that's enough for me.

also, pamela is a phophet. something about what comes around goes around....

:)

Kiyotoe said...

I read 1984 one summer during high school (it was assigned during the school year but since i never read it, mom made me do it during the summer) anyway, when i read it, it seemed so unrealistic to me, so sci-fi. It's scary now how true it's all turning out to be. His foresight or foreshadowing is CRAZY.

As for Murdoch I'm sure his intentions are based on personal ambition and he probably has no interest/concern about the overall effects of his business behavior. Unfortunately I'm sure he's not having any problems sleeping at night.

Bibi said...

Diedre, it certainly limits consumer choice.

Pamela, hope you're right about things changing.

KJ, usually does. ;-)

Kiyotoe, strange how the unthinkable creeps into everyday reality ...

Bottom line: I think there's plenty out there for everyone if 'certain people' learn to share!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Every day, the news over here is about teenagers murdering young fathers in the suburbs or bombers murdering young families in the middle east.

Then they close with sports.

Is it the same everwhere?

Am I becoming that numb to incessant death that I tune out for the maiming but tune back in to see if Wayne Rooney's foot is broken?