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James Murdoch Criticizes BBC For Providing "Free News"

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-don't-trust-the-gov't-to-report-news-fairly? dept.

Government 703

Hugh Pickens writes "News Corporation's James Murdoch says that a 'dominant' BBC threatens independent journalism in the UK and that free news on the web provided by the BBC made it 'incredibly difficult' for private news organizations to ask people to pay for their news. 'It is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it,' says Murdoch. 'The expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision.' In common with the public broadcasting organizations of many other European countries, the BBC is funded by a television license fee charged to all households owning a television capable of receiving broadcasts. Murdoch's News Corporation, one of the world's largest media conglomerates, owns the Times, the Sunday Times and Sun newspapers and pay TV provider BSkyB in the UK and the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News TV in the US." Note that James Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch.

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703 comments

Threatening plurality? (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245075)

Murdoch's News Corporation, one of the world's largest media conglomerates, owns the Times, the Sunday Times and Sun newspapers and pay TV provider BSkyB in the UK and the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News TV in the US.

That is what is threatening the plurality and independence of news. Sounds to me like the guy doesn't want plurality, he just doesn't want competition.

The fact is that the BBC is known for its objectivity. I know a lot of American who only get their news from there because they regard the American press as either too liberal or too conservative. (Or more often than not, too sensationalistic or too "fluffy.")

Re:Threatening plurality? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245169)

News Corp should try adhering to journalistic standards before they complain about the "independence" of journalistic institutions...not that they're one to talk.

Re:Threatening plurality? (3, Funny)

Bazman (4849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245177)

"One of the world's largest" is actually number two, according to Wikipedia, behind Disney. So now we know what his real target is. The Mouse.

Re:Threatening plurality? (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245725)

Really? ABC-Disney is the largest? I thought for sure the largest conglomerate was NBC-Universal which owns at least 10 channels in the U.S., an Europe-wide channel, and also various broadcast stations in Australia and Japan. That would make FOX-Murdoch a distant fourth, after the ABC, CBS, NBC oligarchs.

Back to article-

I'm surprised the BBC gives-away free news on the web. They block their radio and television programs from being seen by anyone who has not paid a TV/radio license (UK citizens), so I would expect them to do the same for text. (shrug)

Re:Threatening plurality? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245187)

This seems a lot like the time that Accuweather and friends tried to have Santorum, their pet senator, ban the NOAA [kayakforum.com] from providing the public with the weather data they paid for.

Though, to be fair, the News Corporation is at least an order of magnitude more evil.

Re:Threatening plurality? (5, Informative)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245543)

For free NOAA/National Weather Service forecasts for your ZIP code (USA only) go to weather.gov [weather.gov] , input your city and state.

Then, at that next page, input your ZIP code.

Save the URL of the resulting page with the forecast for your ZIP code.

This will make EX-Senator Santorum weep bitter, bitter tears.

And you'll get, essentially, the same forecast you'd get from the local media. After all, the NWS is where they get their weather info from.

Re:Threatening plurality? (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245749)

NOAA forecasts are not available to non-U.S. citizens (or if they are available, have no value way over in Europe).

Likewise it makes sense that BBC news should not be available to non-UK citizens, just as radio and television programs websites are blocked. Non-citizens have not paid the BBC license.

Re:Threatening plurality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245755)

Ahhh...Santorum. Thank you Dan Savage--every time I hear the man's name I think of fecal matter and lube.

Re:Threatening plurality? (5, Informative)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245231)

Yeah, I'd trust the BBC any day of the week over "news" reported by a Murdoch mouthpiece. In case there are people who remain unaware of it, Fox News sued and won for the right to lie to you [wikipedia.org] . That's why it's popular in some circles to call it Faux News.

Re:Threatening plurality? (0, Troll)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245343)

No, they sued and won for the right to fire employees for refusing to lie to you.

Re:Threatening plurality? (3, Informative)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245577)

No, they sued and won for the right to fire employees for refusing to lie to you.

No. The implications of that case were much more broad. Not only did they permit them to fire them -- but it was then, under judgement, supporting the matter that the news is 'merely' (lol) entertainment and that the information need not be factual by any means.

Re:Threatening plurality? (5, Informative)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245581)

No, they sued and won for the right to fire employees for refusing to lie to you.

A distinction without a difference. It's an uncontested matter of court record that they ordered the producers to knowingly include false information in a news documentary. By prevailing in the law suit, they have established their right to do so again. Do you think they have discontinued the practice after getting a favorable court ruling?

Re:Threatening plurality? (4, Funny)

Richard Kirk (535523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245575)

"Faux news"?. Ooohhh, that's _cruel_. Specially when they put out quality stuff like this... http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,543280,00.html [foxnews.com]

Now, that's something you didn't see on the BBC.

Re:Threatening plurality? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245751)

Notice that it came from the Sun? That puts it roughly in the same category as Slashdot's Idle section.

Folks to the right of center are allowed to have a sense of humor you know, just like folks from the left of center and folks in the center. They're all permitted to have a chuckle now and then.

Now once you start to get too far from the center in either direction then the sense of humor starts to diminish rapidly and generally degenerates into childish name calling. Utterances like "Faux News" and "Al Reuters" provide endless amusement to those simple folks who endlessly repeat them.

Re:Threatening plurality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245685)

Totally agree. I don't trust Fox news for one bit. They would likely get paid by big pharmaceutical companies to talk against public healthcare in England. They will make news promoting war over peace as companies selling arms probably pay much better than those paying to bring peaceful news. Big companies simply pay better to bring whatever news they want you to hear.

No much better to let the people pay to hear the news the people want to hear. BBC is certainly more neutral than FOX.

Re:Threatening plurality? (1)

Tenebrarum (887979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245259)

The fact is that the BBC is known for its objectivity. I know a lot of American who only get their news from there because they regard the American press as either too liberal or too conservative. (Or more often than not, too sensationalistic or too "fluffy.")

...and with that, Mr. Murdoch can bog right off and come back when he's willing to pry the BBC from our cold, dead hands.

Re:Threatening plurality? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245307)

Exactly, while I do sometimes question their RSS feed from having bias in the stories they promote, on the average they seem to do a good job of being objective, much better than say, CNN, Fox and MSNBC. About the only thing that I sometimes miss from the other networks is some more local, US centric stories, but for world news, the BBC is perhaps the best, hands down.

Re:Threatening plurality? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245385)

The fact is that the BBC is known for its objectivity.
.
Perhaps one considers the BBC "objective" if one is left-of-center. However, a report commissioned by the BBC itself (reported here [timesonline.co.uk] ) found bias.

Re:Threatening plurality? (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245611)

Which is why the BBC has been at the forefront of reporting the MP expense scandal in Britain, which has certainly done far more damage to Labour than to the Conservatives.

I'm not saying the BBC is perfect, but as new sources goes, it's probably up there as being one of the most reliable in the world. Look at the demonstrations in Iran. Without the BBC's Farsi division, the extent of our knowledge of what happened after the election would be far less.

Besides, even if there is some bias in the BBC, it's nothing compared to that grand misinformation network known as Fox News. Murdoch is a lying worthless sack of crap who views journalism as a propaganda tool. He's nothing more than Leonid Brezhnev with a large collection of fancy cars.

Re:Threatening plurality? (-1, Flamebait)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245715)

Which is why the BBC has been at the forefront of reporting the MP expense scandal in Britain, which has certainly done far more damage to Labour than to the Conservatives.

a) it hasn't. It might have reported on the scandal, but it could hardly avoid doing so when everyone else was. If I remember correctly, it was the Telegraph which broke the story, the BBC was just a hanger-on after the fact.

b) since Labour are toast at the next election, the BBC lefties may have decided it's time to suck up to the Tories, since many Tories want the BBC privatised precisely because it's a haven of politically-correct leftism.

The BBC has two motivations:

1. To maintain its funding.
2. To push politically-correct left-wing viewpoints.

So long as its funding is stable, it will push further and further to the left of the vast majority of the British people. If the funding is at risk, it will actually start pretending it's not a haven of politically-correct leftism until the funding is stable again... hence, for example, the shift in its positions from the Thatcher era to the Blair era.

Re:Threatening plurality? (4, Interesting)

theskipper (461997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245427)

With regard to competition, it appears they've committed to a scorched earth policy against all "free" news sources to make their proposed model palatable. It'll be interesting to see the message crafted against PBS+NPR. Even though it is a subscription model at the core, the attack vector will most likely still revolve around the concept of "freeloaders".

Re:Threatening plurality? (3, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245607)

The fact is that the BBC is known for its objectivity.

No, not in the UK it isn't. That's absolutely nothing like a "fact". The BBC's long been criticized for having a a pro-Labour party bias, as well as a few other biases. It does have also a virtual monopoly on UK broadcasting, with very little to challenge its practices.

Murdoch is correct in some ways. He's obviously saying it for his own nefarious ends. And the large percentage of the UK media his company owns is also a very big part of the problem too. Reverting to charging for online news isn't a good idea -- for anyone. But more competition is a VERY good idea.

However, there are many, many issues with the way the BBC behaves, it does need to be examined more closely. It's news reports are not as trustworthy as you seem to think.

Re:Threatening plurality? (4, Insightful)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245741)

This.

Don't trust the BBC to be impartial, fair or balanced, because it is none of these things. Everything it broadcasts reflects the viewpoint of the British Establishment. I trust it to provide me with weather reports, and that's about it. I resent having to pay for it.

Biased BBC [blogspot.com] has the definitive guide.

Re:Threatening plurality? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245643)

Oh please. The BBC is hardly impartial. It's been accused (with evidence) of being pro-Palestinian [countercurrents.org] and well as anti-Israel [camera.org] . It's not neutral. Is the BBC as a concept wonderful? Yeah. Is it objective? No.

Re:Threatening plurality? (5, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245737)

Oh please. The BBC is hardly impartial. It's been accused (with evidence) of being pro-Palestinian and well as anti-Israel. It's not neutral. Is the BBC as a concept wonderful? Yeah. Is it objective? No.

Yeah, well plenty of other people have accused it of being pro-Israeli [google.co.uk] , so go figure.

Re:Threatening plurality? (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245699)

In all fairness, though he's being a self-serving jerk, there's a point: What if (George W Bush|Obama|Stalin|Hitler|Kim Jong Il|the Pope|your choice of "monster" here|Rupert Murdoch himself under government contract with the next administration) used billions and billions of tax dollars to put out a news service, delivering it to every home in the country for free, and outcompeted all the other news sources, driving them to bankruptcy and ruin? Would that be fair? Would there not be at least some risk of it being a Pravdaesque version of reality endorsed by the government to the exclusion of any criticism they didn't feel like having? Clearly the BBC is no Pravda (not this year, anyway, or yesteryear), but can any nation trust its government enough that having a taxpayer-funded news service a good idea in the long run? I think that's a question worth thinking about.

I'm also personally concerned with the notion of a "television license". Call it paranoia, but it makes me think of the "secret radio!!" plot in Jakob the Liar -- a government powers to restrict your receipt of telecommunications are not very comforting.

it's not free (0, Flamebait)

prettything (965473) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245097)

it is not free, it is paid for upfront via the license fee. the man is a yellow squirt of idiot.

Re:it's not free (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245131)

You don't have to pay the license fee as long as you view goatse [goatse.fr] for 30 minutes per day. Read the terms and conditions carefully.

Re:it's not free (5, Insightful)

Bralkein (685733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245433)

Well you don't need to pay the license fee to listen to BBC radio broadcasts, or to read news on the BBC website. And that's the way it should be. Some things should just be free for everybody, like education, libraries and access to the basic information about what's going on in the world around you (ie. news).

Re:it's not free (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245571)

And I don't need to pay to read my neighbor's newspaper, or watch Fox News at my buddy's place.

One good thing about Murdoch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245101)

He's old, so he should die soon.

Re:One good thing about Murdoch (2, Insightful)

MadCat221 (572505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245149)

He's old, so he should die soon.

Rupert, maybe. But his son James here is only in his mid 30s. Like father, like son. We will be cursed with a Murdoch for some time... We can only hope that Jimmy here has only daughters and they go Paris Hilton and becomes a useless heiress. I'd rather have a blonde bimbo than a malignant media mogul.

Re:One good thing about Murdoch (1)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245249)

Malignant Media Mogul is a pretty kick-ass title tho. As a group they go by M&M&Ms.

Re:One good thing about Murdoch (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245615)

Paris Hilton was never really an heiress unless you define it as any woman who inherits money from their parents.

Symmetry (5, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245123)

That's OK, I criticize James Murdoch's News Corporation for providing false news.

I know which I would rather not be accused of.

Re:Symmetry (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245735)

I criticize him for being inconsistent too. He manages to compete with the BBC when it comes to broadcast television where the BBC is "free" so why should it be different on the web? The BBC site is funded by advertising outside the UK, not the license fee, so they are competing on an equal footing. If the BBC can make money off their site - or at least keep it revenue neutral - then why can't Murdoch?

lol (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245143)

I can summarise most peoples' response to this: Ahahahahahahahahaha

AC Criticizes Slashdot For Providing "Free Frosts" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245153)

Hugh G. Rection writes

"Slashdot's Rob Malda says that a 'dominant' AC threatens independent first posters in the UK and that free first posting PHP scripts provided by the AC made it 'incredibly difficult' for private individuals to get their own frosties. 'It is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a first post can be obtained by those who value it,' says Malda. 'The expansion of state-sponsored first posting is a threat to the plurality and independence of AC's everywhere.'

As a company (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245175)

As a company that has done a lot to destroy fair and good reporting everywhere it goes, News Corp should NOT be listened to as an expert on what will produce 'Fair and Balanced' news. It certainly takes more than calling it 'Fair and Balanced', as their TV station Fox News is ample proof of. Sure, the BBC may have some problems, and may sometimes have some bias, but it still remains by far one of the best and most carefully researched news agencies on the planet. If News Corp had ever shown itself capable of ever producing a decent news organization, they might be worth listening to.

As it is, I think the Murdochs are just upset that a REAL news group keeps them from controlling the news. They want power. If there were anything else I could say to make this a stronger condemnation of News Corp, I would. They are really that bad. They are the evilness that Microsoft only aspires to.

Re:As a company (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245683)

News Corp should NOT be listened to as an expert on what will produce 'Fair and Balanced' news...

More to the point, News Corp should just not be listened to at all. Murdoch has produced a sort of intellectual circle jerk for extremist conservative types. It has all the journalistic integrity of a two-bit whore on the Interstate at 5am.

Ultimate irony (5, Insightful)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245185)

The BBC reporting on someone saying the BBC is shit.

That sort of objectivity is why they need to survive just as they are.

Re:Ultimate irony (2, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245349)

That is not irony. It is simply unbiased, objective reporting.

Re:Ultimate irony (5, Informative)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245469)

Irony given News Corp's attitude to reporting about themselves. When they were recently implicated in illegal phone tapping, the silence from News Corp's papers (the Sun, the News of the World et al) was deafening.

Re:Ultimate irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245491)

I like the BBC.

Murdoch's an idiot. Just another out of touch, upper echelon, power crazed, moron (and a senile geezer to boot). Nobody's going to pay for his crap when you can get news and reports and stats all day long over the net.

Re:Ultimate irony (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245595)

The BBC frequently runs coverage of people criticising the BBC (which happens a lot; it's almost as much of a national pastime as complaining about the weather). One of the things I like about the BBC is that articles like this, when they show up in my RSS feed, report the criticism and don't fill the articles with editorialising about why it's not valid. In this article, the only rebuttal was:

Former BBC director general Greg Dyke said Mr Murdoch's argument that the BBC was a "threat" to independent journalism was "fundamentally wrong".

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "Journalism is going through a very difficult time - not only in this country but every country in the world - because newspapers, radio and television in the commercial world are all having a very rough time."

Pot and kettle (5, Insightful)

pfafrich (647460) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245199)

This is a bit rich coming from a Murdoch, a family have the greatest impact on British public life. Many votes are swayed according to what the sun says. And whats more the family managed to reduce "The Times" from a great pillar of the establishment to the least respected broadsheet.

Re:Pot and kettle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245573)

Troll?? In line with most of the rest of the comments here this seems perfectly reasonable. Certainly doesn't deserve to be modded Troll.

It isn't free (5, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245201)

'The people' have already paid for the BBC via their TV license fees, it is in no way 'free'.
Why should they pay again just because Murdoch doesn't like the competition?

Government sponsered (0, Offtopic)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245553)

It is government sponsored. While the BBC is factual, trustworthy, and all that, other state sponsored media are not. Imagine being stuck with the Chinese, Iranian or North Korean state sponsored news organizations.

Also, I find it funny how so many people on Slashdot can cry fowl that all blank CD sales in Canada include a tax that goes to the recording industry (on the assumption that someone will illegally copy music onto the media), while it's okay for everyone that purchases a TV in Britain to have to support the BBC, whether they actually watch it or not.

Just because the BBC happens to be a decent news source does not mean that its funding or distribution is an ideal situation.

Re:Government sponsered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245631)

BBC is not government sponsored, it's paid for by the license fee on tv's in the UK. That's why it's a license fee and not say paid by the taxes (since then the government would be able to change the funding as it would please).

Re:It isn't free (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245669)

'The people' have already paid for the BBC via their TV license fees, it is in no way 'free'.

Unlike SkyTV charging you a monthly fee to receive their broadcasts, and then making you watch adverts too. They (News intl. corp) needs to be investigated, and broken up.

The real problem is obsolescence (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245207)

Traditional news organizations are being made obsolete by evolving web based news reporting where everyone is a reporter. That's the real problem. If traditional news organizations cannot evolve with the web then they will die. Sad for them but good for everyone else.

Hey Murdoch, ask me (4, Informative)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245223)

Hey Murdoch, I am a UK BBC licence fee payer and I have no problems with what the BBC is doing with my cash with regards to their news provisions, especially their excellent news Web site.

You don't like what they are doing with my cash? Tough - if you don't like it, get another job.

Yours etc..

How special do you think you are? (1, Interesting)

fche (36607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245527)

So since you're happy with the BBC, you're happy to insist that all of your neighbours and countrymen also continue being forced to pay for it?

Re:Hey Murdoch, ask me (2, Interesting)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245603)

Interesting how paying no tax on profits of $20.1 billion still allows someone to waffle on about concepts like "fair price". What's fair about owing $350 million and not paying?

Different meaning of independent (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245229)

Murdoch means "independent journalism" in the sense of "journalism that is independent of the facts". The Beeb obviously threatens that, with their insistence on reality-based reporting.

To call Fox News... (1)

crumbz (41803) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245245)

... news reporting and not entertainment is silly. James Murdoch should realize he is competing with Disney, Warner television, and the National Enquirer.

Re:To call Fox News... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245617)

Only ignorant fools actually watch the channel and think it carries weight anyway.

Its like putting on cartoons for the mentally disabled to keep them from getting up and doing something dangerous.

Calling the waaaahmbulance... (1)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245251)

Please follow up with every sarcastic expression of sympathy you can muster. To start: "I'm playing the world's smallest violin for him."

Re:Calling the waaaahmbulance... (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245533)

oooh call a doctor, my heart is bleeding.

Indepdendent? (2, Interesting)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245271)

OH SNAP:

Media Concentration [sourceforge.net]

Read: media without profit motive threatens the moneyed-interest propaganda monoculture. And are we seriously supposed to believe that the son of Rupert Murdoch doesn't understand that media is international these days?

"As Orwell foretold, to let the state enjoy a near-monopoly of information is to guarantee manipulation and distortion," Murdoch said, referring to George Orwell's book, "1984."

What an unbelievable fucking tool.

QOTD (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245273)

'It is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it,' says Murdoch.

Murdoch isn't selling anything I want to pay for. Now, if the BBC charges for its content, I would give serious consideration to doing so. There -- free market in action!

Re:QOTD (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245395)

If you live in the BBC, chances are you already pay for the BBC via taxes and "TV licenses", for those of us not in the UK, chances are we also pay for the BBC via a cable or satellite subscription with BBC America as one of the channels.

Re:QOTD (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245419)

...And I should really learn to proofread. That should say If you live in the UK chances are you already pay for the BBC. Not If you live in the BBC.

Re:QOTD (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245625)

I live in the UK, subscribe to the BBC news feeds, and watch BBC programs on iPlayer through a computer connected to a projector, but because I don't watch live TV broadcasts I don't have to pay the license fee. I did pay it for a year in spite of not needing to, because I consider that the BBC news is worth paying for, but I stopped when they decided to adopt Microsoft's DRM for iPlayer. Once iPlayer migrates to using open standards and no DRM, I will be happy to recommence paying the license fee.

Ahh Yes the Free Market (5, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245285)

What many people don't understand is that companies don't want to compete. Ideally, they want to form a monopoly and then stop innovating (because that's a cost) and raise prices (because that's profit). If they can't form a monopoly, they want to form a cartel with their main rivals. Murdoch and Son realize they can't buy the BBC, so they're taking the cartel approach whining about how they "can't compete". Actually what they're saying is, "Our plan to raise prices won't work, as long as someone doesn't. Join the news cartel, and we'll all profit."

News and Information is meant to be free (5, Insightful)

Cable (99315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245293)

The Internet is all about free access to information and news. The BBC, PBS, NPR, etc are all public organizations that give out free information anyway and usually funded by the government and donations.

News Media Corp is a private corporation and doesn't seem to get the free news and free information philosophy of the Internet. If they charge for access to news and information they will suffer for it. Then only the wealthy will be able to access it, and some of the wealthy will refuse to pay and go to free sources instead.

Also when a news or information source is pay only and private, it cannot be used for citations anymore as a professor cannot log on to verify the source because they cannot afford the fees to every pay source of news and information and usually require the student to use the sources that the college provides for peer reviewed news articles and papers.

Murdoch is shooting himself in the foot with such a move.

Re:News and Information is meant to be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245367)

The information isn't free. It's funded (as you said) by taxes and donations. I'm not saying that wrong or anything, but its important to understand that it's not free. You are paying for it (assuming you pay taxes and live in a place with publicly funded news services).

Re:News and Information is meant to be free (4, Insightful)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245417)

He's not shooting himself in the foot, he's acting in his own self interest. Yes, it may be kind of short-term thinking, but it would be profitable if he could do what he is trying to do.

I don't know if all info is meant to be free. The Wall Street Journal charges and makes money. They are providing a specific sector with timely and well researched information. There is value in that.

But what he is missing is the fact that for most topics a newspaper, newscast, or news channel is no longer the commodity. The STORY is the commodity.

Re:News and Information is meant to be free (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245593)

The difference is The Wall Street Journal has reputation (well, at least it did before they were bought by News Corporation), on the other hand Fox News does not. Ever heard of the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index? The company that compiles that is the same company that owns The Wall Street Journal. And I expect the Wall Street Journal to decline in relevance as management shifts from older generations to younger generations more comfortable with the internet.

Re:News and Information is meant to be free (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245705)

It's not about reputation, it's about the quality and timeliness of the news.

In the world of finance, that's easy. If I have better information, quicker, I can make money. that creates value and justifies the cost.

Sure, they are going to gut the brand. They already hired a conservative wonk to run the editorial page, and they're planning on selling off the Dow Jones Index brand, and the same basic information is available on finance.yahoo.com.

But, there is a market for the value they are adding (same goes for Bloomberg), and therefore they will be OK for quite some time.

Take Slashdot. Would you pay a couple buck per month for Slashdot?

I would. Not like $30, but easily $3 or so.

I would say there is at least one article a week that makes my job easier. that's an easy justification for me.

This would be funny...IF: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245311)

This would be funny if it wasn't so scary. What he's saying is that news reporting/broadcasting should be only allowed by commercial companies. The big problem is that commerical companies have their own agendas, are in it for the profits (so they pander for ratings and advertising, which greatly affects their objectivity), and (ironically as in the case of Fox News in the USA-owned by Murdoch) can even have a big political slant. This is REALLY scary-and the fact that he even says this speaks VOLUMES about HIS objectivity!

The Murdochs can die in a fucking fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245315)

Also, the BBC provides news. How is that competing with what Fox provide?

Free Market, Baby (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245357)

Love capitalists who complain about the destructive nature of the free market.

What would you prefer, socialism?

AccuWeather and the Weather Channel (in the US), who take publicly provided weather data, process it, and resell it, love to complain about how NOAA gives similar info away for free.

Uhm, my tax dollars paid for that, so yeah, I want it for free.

If you add value through your processing and predictive analysis and create something that has a market value, then that is great, but don't complain others can get the free data that you, yourself, have gotten for free.

**** Murdoch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245359)

**** The Murdoch

(obligatory)

Free News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245365)

Is this free as in beer or free as in bias and censorship?

"A" doesn't necessarily follow "B" (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245389)

'The expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision.'

I agree.

'It is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it,' says Murdoch.

Wait, what? Just because state sponsored journalism is a bad idea doesn't mean that the only solution for news on the web is payment based. And calling News Corp properties "independent digital journalism" is a side splitter.

As for the purported "objectivity" of the BBC, feh. I listened to them report on a comment by a British pol about parts of British cities being like "The Wire". So they played a scene with a gunfight, and then said simply "and the show continues the same way" in a sneering, dismissive tone. They may be neither liberal or conservative, but the snide superiority that drips from their stories isn't exactly Walter Cronkite level journalism.

Re:"A" doesn't necessarily follow "B" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245489)

My sentiments exactly R2.0. I also often find the BBC (and might I add British citizenry "in general") to be quite the supercilious lot.

Then add value above what the BBC provides.... (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245431)

Pay news sites, just do not add much value. The articles are mostly dribble-like opinion, and often present no details around the facts and statistics behind the article. Take Barron's for example, which I used to find high value due to the lack of many alternatives. Now, I can get the same/better analysis via other financial or news communities. If Barron's wants me to pay, then they need to add valuable content NOT available through the other sources. It is funny, because they have this content, but make you pay an added extra amount, on top of your Barrons subscription. Barrons, somewhat recently, offers paying customers the full articles on Saturday, then it is all free on Monday.

Winfall (2, Informative)

carsonc (792247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245479)

News Corp. has been buying up failing news outlets like candy. Now they are trying to cash in by using their influence to change the playing field and make them worth something again. This will reap them great profits and just cement their dominant market position.

Up the BBC (5, Insightful)

lttlordfault (1561315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245509)

As a UK TV license payer I have no problem whatsoever with how the BBC spends my money. A media network charged with producing quality independent broadcasting is fine in my book.

I find their news to be far more balanced and fair than any commercial operator I've encountered, as they're not beholden to their advertisers and contributers and rather to their audience. A perfect example being the current debate in America about socialized healthcare.

First we had reports about how the NHS was being used as an example of how socialized healthcare doesn't work, then reports on the anger this caused in the British populace (my God I was angry), then reports on the isolated incidents where the NHS has failed people.

Nowhere else have I found a more balanced and fair news outlet and I'm eternally grateful that we have our wonderful British Broadcasting Corporation.

It says a lot that James Murdoch has felt he had to attack the BBC to protect his business interests.

Sky TV - entirely missable. (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245515)

Well I pay my taxes and my TV licence fee and I'm really delighted in what the BBC does and the high quality with which it does it. I tried your offering Mr Murdoch and it was overpriced shit.

What next: BUPA complains that the NHS is unfair competition?

Sounds to me like he's asking for collusion... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245531)

And that is illegal....

But, god forbid a capitalist company in a capitalist society attempt to capitalize... (sarcasm)

We embrace capitalism but we pretend its byproducts of deception, corruption, and disregard/disrespect for human life aren't a natural phenomenon to putting $$$ over people.

Someone, please --- choke a murdoch.

I wish Murdoch would quit whining (2, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245535)

and start charging for his news. It may only take a month for him to figure out no one wants to pay for it, but it it would be great for the world to get a break from his yellow journalism.

greedy bastards (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245549)

greedy bastards stay greedy bastards... as if everyone is instantly going to pay for news without the bbc... greed must also make you incredibly prone to being a complete and utter idiot bastard of another idiot bastard, who was on his own an idiot bastard of yet another idiot bastard!

Backhanded compliment (3, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245555)

If a member of the Murdoch family is criticizing you, you're probably doing something right.

Just for the record, I love the BBC and I love the NHS; nuts to anyone who thinks they're somehow evil.

Independent from what? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245563)

Technically Fox News is an independent news stations. I realise they're an easy target, but it is really difficult to claim that they are unbiased when they are willing to call people who disagree with a republican president traitors, and people who disagree with a democratic president patriots.

To me, the best kind of news agency is the one that is always in opposition to the government and always critical of what happens in politics.

One somewhat ironic way that might be accomplished is to enshrine into law a publicly funded news agency (like the BBC), that is required by law to ask tough questions of government and politicians in general. The trick to this, is of course that some politicians are very keen on pressuring such organizations into sacking critical journalists etc., and it is rather tricky to set up a system, when the politicians have the option of cutting off funding if they don't get their way. I don't think it's impossible - it's just not something that'd be possible to fit into a Slashdot post. Nor is it something I have a solution to.

Leave Murdoch alone. (0, Flamebait)

opticalbiophysics (1550145) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245567)

Oh please, like the BBC doesn't have an agenda. Murdoch's right, a little competition is a good thing even in the News media. Personally I don't think it even makes sense to assume Truth in any of the drivel they feed us through the TV. The revolution will not be televised precisely because we PAY FOR IT!

Re:Leave Murdoch alone. (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245601)

There's nothing wrong with competition. What Murdoch has patently failed to do is to provide any. That's why he is whining.

Oh and your tfh is starting to show.

Re:Leave Murdoch alone. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245657)

You're right the BBC does have an agenda - reporting the news. Murdoch should try it.

Independence on other sources of money and quality (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245613)

Two problems with this statement:
1 - media that relies on money from third parties (because subscription fees are just a part of the total amount earned) may also be a threat to independent journalism - as the third party almost always is advertising, this means that those media relies on commerce, and most likely it relies on mega corps
2 - money can be used to produce high quality articles, but in no way should the it be implied that having money for news mean that the articles would be of a higher quality, or more independent

What's that sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245619)

Oh! It's the Waaaahmbulance coming to treat a severe case of "the world is not as I want it to be"-itis.

Typo in summary... (5, Funny)

wellingtonsteve (892855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245645)

"owns the Times, the Sunday Times and Sun newspapers"

Sorry you can't call The Sun a 'newspaper'! Seriously, a publication who's most popular story today is entitled "I had walk with a yeti on holiday [thesun.co.uk] "??

"State Sponsored" (1)

MLCT (1148749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245665)

He is entitled to his opinion on what the status of the broadcast market is in the UK (and it mostly seems to be an attack that fits in with the "great pay-wall of Murdoch" that they are planning - "nobody nowhere should provide free content" is the mantra). However what is totally unacceptable is use of phraseology such as:

state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision

while it doesn't surprise me that someone coming from the same family as fox news would make such a absolutely false statement - it does make him look particularly stupid. Any idea that the BBC is state-sponsored (a phrase that conjures up images of despots ordering what the daily headlines will be) is both false and misrepresenting reality - staples of the murdoch methodology. This would be the same BBC that in its capacity as a news reporter examines and holds the government to account on behalf of the people every day. Zircon, David Kelly, and many more.
We can only be thankful we don't live in murdochs world where they control all. The only "News" that the public would be allowed to "consume" would consist of right-wing bile and trash shalebraties and their sordid tales.

Murdoch: Competition destroys journalism (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245677)

Rupert Murdoch, speaking out on the news business, stated today that "the free access model is clearly malfunctioning, as I don't make enough money from it."

Media commentators fear for the future of investigative journalism. "How can we hold governments' feet to the fire without money to pay our great reporters? Where would you get your recycled wire feeds, your Garfield cartoons?"

"We have to educate people that free doesn't work, particularly for us. So the BBC should give me free money. How about a bailout? And Google. Free money please. Go on, gi's it."

Illustration: my precioussssss [today.com] .

Really? (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245703)

From TFS:

It is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it.

Does anyone else find it ironic for Rupert Murdoch to be talking about "independent" journalism? Does he even know what that means?

I wonder how "independent" his organizations would be if they uncovered dirt on News Corp.? Somehow, I'm guessing they'd be quite quickly reminded exactly who their boss is.

The BBC, and its concept, might really not be a bad idea. It doesn't have to worry about making a profit, so it's free to report on actual news rather than sensationalism. If given the choice between the BBC or News Corp. going away, well, been nice knowing you, Mr. Murdoch.

Murdoch != Murdoch (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245707)

FYI, James Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch, who is the actual guy who runs "News" Corp.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Murdoch_(media_executive) [wikipedia.org]

He's sorta right (5, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29245731)

Good news coverage is worth paying for. Unfortunately for Murdoch, with the sole exception of the Wall Street Journal, none of his holdings produce good journalism. Because with the exception of the Journal, everything covered in his TV stations or newspapers I can find in three hundred other locations on the web, in other newspapers, or on other TV stations. Because its all reworked AP stories. Good in-depth journalism died years ago, and now all we get from 99.9999999 percent of US media sources, including Murdoch's, is cookie-cutter stories.

If Murdoch really expects me to pay, then he's going to have to improve journalism at his own holdings and give me original information I can't find anywhere else. When he can do that, I'll pay (as I do for the WSJ now). Until then, not a chance in hell.

Dear Rupert: +1, Amicable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29245759)

Are you too chicken to intimidate ?

You AND your progeny are sorry excuses for protoplasm.

I hope your Wall Street Journal declares bankruptcy along with the rest of the criminal capitalist enterprises running rampant in the collapsed United Gulags of America.

Yours In Vladivostok,
Kilgore Trout, Scientist

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