Poor Questions

Some of these questioners seem very amateurish and unfocused. Not surprising I suppose – it’s an investigation designed by a committee. But do they really have two of the world’s most influential men here to ask them about the day-to-day running of newspapers? It’s like they’re taking advantage of the situation to ask things they’d always wondered, and it’s giving the Murdochs opportunities to paint themselves in brighter colours.


The End Of The World (As We Know It)

Rupert Murdoch is a media mogul in the original sense of the word. He’s not a proprietor so much as he’s an emperor. In order to protect his bid to control the extremely lucrative BSkyB he has simply destroyed the jobs of 200 people, the vast majority of whom are of course innocent. Well, innocent of everything except working for the News of the World. They have been sacrificed to protect his image, to make him seem more clean and innocent. It is the act of a despotic autocrat. And surely it is also a titanic misjudgment. Does it really indicate that he should be in control of even more of the UK’s media?

An unfortunate unintended effect of his decision is that we will never get to see what would have happened. Would the readers of the NOTW have rejected their paper, or are they actually happy enough with that sort of behaviour? Would the advertisers have stayed away, or come back after a suitable interval? We’ll never know.

And so I wonder if it was unintended. Perhaps Murdoch pulled the plug before he was pushed. The public didn’t get to see how easy it would be to bring an offending newspaper down these days. In my estimation, how startlingly easy. He probably doesn’t want them to pick that idea up.


Murdoch Takes On Apple

Present CartoonRupert Murdoch seems to have finally embraced the 21st Century. Where before he’d stuck all his newspapers’ content behind paywalls, now he’s launched an iPad-only publication, The Daily. It’s great to see a dinosaur in motion.

One problem: It’s crap. By all accounts the user interface is guilty of the worst sin an iPad app can commit: unresponsiveness. People are going to go “Wow, eye candy!” at first, then realise it’s actually a drag to use and drift away.

So what the hell is he doing? I mean, apart from keeping all their subscription money.

He knows that with News International’s backing, this is going to be the most talked-about iPad publication yet. He knows that just about everyone is going to say “but it’s crap.” He also knows that the uninitiated – which despite the iPad’s success is still the vast majority of people – will widely understand this as “newspapers on the iPad are crap.”

It’s a turd delivered in a pretty package, a deliberate spoiling tactic to damage the image of the new medium, and the people who will suffer are of course the actual pioneers. So he fends off the online threat to his empire for that little bit longer.

Well played.

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