Media

Is Rupert Murdoch Smothering Online Content?

| Thu Oct. 1, 2009 2:52 PM PDT

Vanity Fair's November issue profiles Rupert Murdoch and his war against online news. Toward the end of the piece, Michael Wolff paints a troubling portrait of the man he says is leading the charge for reforming readers' access to online news:

It is not, what’s more, merely that Murdoch objects to people reading his news for free online; it’s that he objects to—or seems truly puzzled by—what newspapers have become online. You get a dreadful harrumph when you talk to Murdoch about user-created content, or even simple linking to other sites. He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t buy it. He doesn’t want it.

This raises the question: Should the primary reformer advocating for paid online content be someone whose musings on the Internet sound more like, "Get off my lawn!"?

Murdoch's problem isn't, as Wolff suggests, that he's "ignoring his industry's biggest problem." But by closing his mind to the Internet and its potential for spreading information and promoting discussion, Murdoch himself has become the industry's biggest problem.

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