Rupert Murdoch Threatens Seppuku

Seppuku – a ritualized disemboweling that originated among the Japanese Samauri.

Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul chairman and majority shareholder of News Corp (The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and pile of other news outlets) wants to force his business model back into relevance. According to this recent interview, he wants to put pay-walls up around most of his content, sue fair-use into oblivion, and make his sites invisible to search engines like Google (mUmBRELLA).

I was going to write a full response to Mr. Murdoch’s ideas, but Perry de Havilland of Samizdata really hit the nail on the head:

“Not only will people not be motivated to pay Rupert Murdoch for content if they cannot find it via google, they will not even be aware of the content Murdoch is hiding from them. In short, Murdoch will become completely irreverent irrelevant on-line almost overnight and I am not sure why he thinks all too many people will care one way or the other. This is a bit like threatening someone that if they do not give him their money, Murdoch will cut his own throat. Er, sure Rupert, whatever. I suspect folks at the Guardian (who may not be my favourites ideologically but they certainly ‘get’ the internet better than most) and elsewhere can hardly believe their good luck (From Samizdata Murdoch’s suicide threat).”

Rupert, Rupert, Rupert, Rupert… your plan will fall to pieces if a single online news outlet keeps their content free. No one with half a brain will pay for it. Your best years are behind you. Long behind you.

Ruperts words made me think of a line from last night’s Mad Men Season Finale when Don snapped at his fellow partner Bert Cooper saying, ”And you old men love building golden tombs and sealing the rest of us in with you.” Mr. Murdoch is an old, rich, proud man, the people who will suffer from his decisions are his employees, and their families.

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