Rupert Murdoch To The Mass Media: “You Dug Yourself A Huge Hole”

In recent years, newspapers all across the United States have seen their circulation numbers fall sharply and the value of their stocks decline at least as much. Magazines are hurting too as evidenced by Time which has asked for 82 volunteers to take a contract buyout in order to reduce the magazine’s payroll expenditure.

We bloggers have known for a few years now why this has been happening. And now, Rupert Murdoch has said it publically to his peers.

Charles Cooper at CNET, reporting on a lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation, quotes Murdoch:

“The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly–and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception.”

The 77-year-old Murdoch, recalling a long career in newspapers that began when his father’s death forced him to take over the Adelaide News in 1952, said the profession has failed to creatively respond to changes wrought by technology.

“It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news–and what was not. They acted as sort of demigods. If they ran a story, it became news. If they ignored an event, it never happened,” Murdoch said. “Today, editors are losing this power. The Internet, for example, provides access to thousands of new sources that cover things an editor might ignore. And if you aren’t satisfied with that, you can start up your own blog, and cover and comment on the news yourself. Journalists like to think of themselves as watchdogs, but they haven’t always responded well when the public calls them to account.”

And to drive the point home, Murdoch points to the first major victory we bloggers had over the MSM:

To make his point, Murdoch criticized the media reaction after bloggers debunked a 60 Minutes report by former CBS anchor Dan Rather that President Bush had evaded service during his days in the National Guard.

“Far from celebrating this citizen journalism, the establishment media reacted defensively,” Murdoch said. “During an appearance on Fox News, a CBS executive attacked the bloggers in a statement that will go down in the annals of arrogance. 60 Minutes, he said, was a professional organization with ‘multiple layers of checks and balances.’ By contrast, he dismissed the blogger as ‘a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.’ Eventually, it was the guys sitting in their pajamas who forced Rather and his producer to resign.”

Remember that not one single major news outlet ever called Dan Rather to task for his attempted deception. It was only after the story had been broken and uncovered by the blogosphere that any of the MSM even bothered to mention it.

And one very telling fact shows why we bloggers have been gaining in popularity and readership:

Murdoch continued: “Mr. Rather and his defenders are not alone. A recent American study reported that many editors and reporters simply do not trust their readers to make good decisions. Let’s be clear about what this means. This is a polite way of saying that these editors and reporters think their readers are too stupid to think for themselves.”

Excellent article.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Murdoch To Media: You Dug Yourself A Huge Hole
Charles Cooper
November 16, 2008

One Response

  1. You may enjoy my current post about Rupert Murdoch. When I found the information, it was eye opening.

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