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Google vs. Murdoch
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, left, and News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch. (AP)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, left, and News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch. (AP)

For a century and more, newspapers made money hand over fist. Then came the Internet.

Now, newspapers are dying. And news giant Rupert Murdoch is getting mad. He’s ready to fight.

Murdoch’s target is the biggest kid on the Internet block: Google. The News Corp chief says Google has essentially been stealing the news from companies like his and giving it away for free. It’s got to stop, he says.

Is Murdoch just blowing smoke?

This hour, On Point: We’ll hear from Jeff Jarvis, Michael Wolf, and Steven Brill — plus Google CEO Eric Schmidt — on Google versus Murdoch.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Jeff Jarvis, associate professor and director of the Interactive Program at the City University of New York School of Journalism. His most recent book is “What Would Google Do?” He writes a column on new media for The Guardian and blogs at Buzzmachine.

Michael Wolff, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and founder of the news aggregator Newser.com. He’s author of “The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.”

Steven Brill, media entrepreneur, founder of CourtTV, American Lawyer magazine, and most recently co-founder of Journalism Online, a company whose mission is to help news publishers make the transition to a paid-content model on the Internet.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Mansoor Ali

    Is he serious? Search engines will only direct users back to Murdoch’s websites.

  • Stan

    News Corp built MySpace by allowing members to upload unlicensed content. As a photographer, I have spent countless hours trying to remove my copyrighted content, which was uploaded without my permission, to Myspace pages. Despite “DMCA takedown laws” there was a time that it was impossible to get MySpace to take down infringing content.

    I find it ironic that Murdoch, owner of MySpace, is now crying foul, when someone basically does the same to him.

  • Brian

    So everyone knows: websites can very easily opt out of being indexed by search engines. It’s just a matter of putting a statement in the website which is hidden to the viewer, but visible to the search engine, saying that it doesn’t want to be indexed.

  • Ambrose Finklestein

    Every and any knowlegdable google user and web admin is well aware of robot.txt. If murdoc doesn’t want to appear on the worlds largest web traffic generator then he can very easly opt out – so what is the true story? It sounds like he is inventing a problem so he can push a solution.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    Who cares? He is already a Billionare

  • Joe E.

    Google has been getting rich off the backs of newspapers. It’s time for the business model to change. Even Google News rips off the first paragraph of copyrighted news stories.

  • Todd

    News? What Murdoch and the MSM spews isn’t news, it’s propaganda. Google that ’til hell freezes over for all I care.

  • Filipiak

    Bob Cringely wrote this:

    “Which brings us back to Rupert Murdoch, who is brilliant in his own right but in this case can’t find his own URL with both hands. If Murdoch abandons Google News, then those hundreds of millions of reader referrals per day will simply go to other publications or maybe even to guys like me. It’s not like Google can’t fill the space.”

    Source: http://www.cringely.com/2009/11/news-corp-to-offer-plaid-stamps/

  • Diane Samples

    I primarily read the NYT online (something I never thought I would do) and listen to NPR. I think I should pay for both, even though I am very aware of the advertising on the NYT website, which is more in my face than NPRs ads are in my ears. Currently I only pay for NPR because the NYT hasn’t really come up with a model to propose to me. I think it is essential that we all support real, objective news gathering, particularly investigative reporting. If left to corporations, we get exactly what we are getting in the way of FOX, etc. That’s not journalism. The concept of “the fourth branch” should be much more emphasized in the education of our population– at all levels.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    You know what is wrong with this world? People with money. Murdoch as a lot of things to reconsider, Health Insurance for all Americans, Feed the dying children of Africa and help American soldiers about PTSD, Help the poor, help me and you

    Ad Sense by Google helped a lot people to make money without charging those people, just to make ends meet or to put extra cash for those peoplke who needed money.

    Rupert Murdoch is inventing an issue that is more into his own benefit but not the benefit of all Americans.

  • Erik

    This is less of a comment and more of a suggestion.

    It sounds to me that your sound levels are set way too high. Everyone’s voices are breaking up when they get loud.

  • Jonathan

    Dear Mr. Wolf,

    Stopping being a child, let the guy speak!

  • http://www.executivenomad.com Eric

    Advertising as the financial support of content worked in the days when Mr. Gimbel couldn’t figure out which half of his advertising was wasted. That “fat” made the business possible. Digital technology, with its transparency, makes it impossible to hide the “fat” — and unfortunately it is that “fat” that supports a news operation (which is more muscle than fat but this is an imperfect analogy). Google kills the margins for everyone except Google.

    The question you need to ask is: are Jeff Jarvis and Michael Wolfe prepared to work for free? I doubt they are, but in advocating “free” as a business model the are contributing to the downward pressure on what news content creators get paid until it reaches the point where only free workers are left.

  • Cliff sobkowicz

    Televison has provided free news for decades.

  • Elizabeth

    Newspapers may not be dead yet, but civility certainly is. Micheal Wolff seems determined to prove this by rudely interrupting everyone on the show.

  • Kelly

    If Murdoch wants to charge he can lock down his sites and charge.

  • http://www.thejobz.net Ryan

    I don’t care how informative these guests may be, if I wanted to listen to grown men bitch at each other, I would turn on fox news. Do not have them back, PLEASE!

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    iReport is free news under CNN. Individiual report from different sort of people and life style but they bring good news for everyone and it’s free.

    The Boston Phoenix is another Free newspaper that is circulated all over the world. It is a free newspaper for everyone to read.

    Murdoch need more cash so he can bring his money to heaven when he dies. Is it just being rich or just being another rich man trying to make cash against a Search Engine that was invented by 2 smart young people.

  • Matt

    I don’t forsee paying for online content being viable as long as there is a disconnect between seeing it immediately, and ‘buying’ it. Perhaps when some form of online an payment account is implemented, it will be more possible. For example, a system built into the web browser; the user pre-loads real money into an account that they have set up, and when they go to view a document or article, it has a price attatched. Click, confirm “yes, I want to pay ‘X’ for this” and read away. Keep a display of the current account balance on the screen, and people can control their spending, accessing content immediately without everything having to be free.

  • Brian Clague

    Until they sort out their new business model, newpapers should provide an opportunity for readers to contribute voluntarily online. I won’t buy a $200 annual subscription to read the NYT online, but since I read their content every day I’d voluntarily contribute, much the way one does to NPR.

  • http://n/a Jeannie

    I read the Washington Post online. The advertising there requires me to sit through 15 second commercials to get a story. Is this online newspaper having success in funding their online content with their advertising?

  • Chris

    What we’ve learned from Michael Wolf: there are a lot of people he personally doesn’t like, and he’s happy to abuse the microphone that never should have been put in front of him, in order to spew his personal venom. Really, this is not an appropriate or useful guest for On Point. No perspective, no analysis, and simply rude.

  • Susan

    Mr. Wolf,
    I humbly suggest you learn something about effective communication. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson: “You’re speaking so arrogantly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

  • yar

    I had to turn you off. To much talking over each other. Some people are better off putting their ideas in print than discussing them on air.

  • Rob

    the behavior of these two guests is profoundly obnoxious. the content of their arguments is irrelevant: i can’t stand to listen to them.

  • Steven

    I can’t remember two bigger babies being allowed to pontificate on the radio, interrupt other people and trumpet their own pitiful website projects. Shut off their mikes and play music. Zero has been learned from these two idiots.

  • Glenn Maxwell

    Mr. Wollf needs to learn how to leave his ego at the door and speak respectfully. He is taking away from his points and does not help clarify the debate.

  • Gina

    What rude guests – it’s not all that often that Tom has to wrangle guests to respect when someone else is talking. It’s absurd and I feel like I’m listening to Fox. That they’re talking over listeners is putting me over the edge.

  • steve s

    How about some turnabout? How long would it take Murdoch to shout “Uncle,” should Google block access from Google to any Murdoch site!?

  • Max

    Dear Tom,

    Please never invite Michael Wolf to the program. Tom’s implication that Mr. Wolf is less than respective doesn’t need to be implied. His lack of respect speaks for itself. And it’s too bad because his opinion needs to be voiced, just without the acerbic, self-righteous tone.

  • Kara Lochridge

    I wish the speakers, especially Michael Wolf– would stop interrupting each other and Mr. Ashbrook. I’m turning my radio off now– definitely not the level of discussion I expect to hear on NPR.

  • Jared J

    Michael Wolff’s parents failed on an epic level.

  • Dan

    Michael Wolff may have some good points, but he’s a horrible guest – wasting air time by acting like a child. I had to turn the show off.

  • Tammie Gardner

    I normal love your show, but the guests today are so incredibly annoying and rude i just turned the radio off. They would make wonderful vice presidential candidates!

  • Gina

    Sorry – but if they talk over one more listener in an insulting way I’m turning it off.

  • Mike Peterson

    This yelling, cheapshot non-dialogue is typical of the Emperor’s New Clothes true believers, and it’s why I’ve quit trying to even discuss this. If they had a valid point, they would shut up long enough to entertain questions and would then defend their points. Instead, they interrupt, repeat their dogma and refuse to entertain alternative voices. (I’ve been in the business for more than 30 years. But, of course, to the True Believers, that’s proof that I am a dinosaur and I don’t know what I’m talking about.)

  • http://trishwilson.typepad.com/the_count/ Bill

    Don’t forget that with the internet, competition will bury those who stand in the way. When I read news on-line, it is usually from a link external to the news organization. If I have to *even think* about registering to view the web side, let alone paying for it, I immediately go elsewhere. In the heyday of the newspaper, I was stuck with whatever my city papers provided, not anymore.

  • Frances

    Michael Wolf, shut up! Your condescending and rude vitriol is not helping your case.

  • Ryan Buck

    I think it’s very ironic that all these people are yelling much more than I have ever heard on On Point, mimicing the tactics of many pundits on Fox News.

  • Dave Nichols

    Mssrs. Wolf and Jarvis are two of the most rude and arrogant guests I have ever heard on any NPR program. Shouting down callers from inside the studio is totally immature and unacceptable. Please banish them from your producers’ rolodexes until they learn some manners or grow up.

    Dave in Nashville

  • Gina

    Relieved to see the listeners feel as I do – please don’t ever invite these men back – send them to Fox. They’re horrible guests and no matter how important the conversation is, it’s not worth the discussion or lack of with these men.

  • Rob

    If I wanted to hear people yell and talk over each other, I would turn on network news. I listen to this show every day. These two guests are extremely hard to listen two and their points are lost on the audience when they interrupt each other and the people who call in. Incredibly rude.

  • aih

    Please don’t have Mr. Wolff back on this show. He’s a blow-hard and bully. And like all such people, evinces a brittleness and defensiveness which undermines his position, and underscores his intellectual dishonesty. Plus, he’s just an insufferable prick. I don’t tune in to On Point for food fights. Tom’s a great moderator, but sometimes he needs to send the little kids to the kids’ table.

  • Pete

    I’m interested in the topic, but turned it off because of Michael Wolf’s disrespect and immaturity. Can’t somebody just switch off his mic when he’s interrupting everyone and wrecking the show? Please don’t invite him back

  • http://www.executivenomad.com Eric

    Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Wolfe need to note that humans have two ears and one mouth. Gentlemen, and I use term loosely after listening to this hour, note the ratio. High-speed bloviation isn’t the same as discussion. Please let the listeners speak. If voices like Jarvis and Wolfe’s are the future of news creation, we are in for dark days.

  • Brent Malak

    As a news “consumer,” I want my news to be accurate, timely, concise, and relevant to my interests. Rarely do I need to read an article of 300 words or more, which is what is now provided in the newspapers. If I want it, for a particular interest, I may pay extra for it. However, the big change is in the medium of news delivery. First it was books which took a long time to get into our hands. Then, rapid printing presses allowed newspapers. The next piece was the internet, but it was “pulled content,” up to the reader to find. Now, I want to be “pushed” content that I find of interest, to be timely, accurate, and concise, with the option to get more details if interested. So, the model I’m willing to pay for is a push and the option for more detail, as needed.

  • Andy

    I love On Point and listen to it whenever I can. I’ve never before been compelled to comment on this site before today’s show, but I feel I must add my voice to the many here who have already complained about Mr. Wolf’s behavior this hour. He has shown no respect for the other contributors to today’s show, and has distracted from the important conversation I tuned in to hear.

    (For what it’s worth, I’m a liberal who generally despises Rupert Murdoch. Oh well.)

  • Mansoor Ali

    I had to stop listening to the show, it reminded me of right wing talk shows in the Boston area.

  • Simon Joyner

    Tom,
    Take back your show! I’ve never turned a program off before, but I am doing so now because you aren’t controlling your guests. It’s as simple as “I will call on you when it’s your turn to talk.” Michael Wolff, in particular, is walking over everyone, and attacking people personally instead of their ideas. He’s even interrupting callers in mid-sentence. Someone needs to wrangle these inflated egos if they’re going to be allowed to speak on the show. I didn’t know this was one of those programs where the point is to malign one another at top volume. I expect more from On Point and from Mr. Ashbrook as a moderator. Please consider setting up guidelines with your guests before beginning a conversation so this doesn’t happen again. Today’s show was a train-wreck and a wasted opportunity to discuss an important topic.
    -Simon Joyner (Omaha, Nebraska)

  • Cathy McNally

    Your 10 am show today was really difficult to listen to and I ended up turning it off. Your guests seemed like a bunch of children who couldn’t really have a civilized conversation. It may have been one person in particular – Michael Woolf? who especially lost credibility with his interrupting and ridiculous name-calling.
    Please don’t go the way of cable news shouting matches.

    Cathy McNally

  • Ingo Rautenberg

    Interesting discussion this morning, though Mr. Wolff has done himself no favors by his antagonistic sparring /interrupting of Mr. Brill.

    I happen to believe we are willing to pay for content, but do have problems with the way Mr. Murdoch does so with his WSJ.com. I’m a paid subscriber to both his paper and the online edition, and have been more than aggravated when I(and it’s an option on the site) share a story on Facebook, only to have friends who are non-subscribers not be able to read past the 2nd or 3rd paragraph. In this regard, I think you’re more likely to alienate/turn off potential customers.

  • Matt

    Please don’t have guests on who speak over one another. This show is usually great. These guests really made it another annoying talk show without much content (ironically).

  • mjbaar

    I am not a fan of Mr. Murdoch’s.
    I am a fan of civil discussion.
    There sure wasn’t a lot of it during the show this morning.
    Mr. Wolff came off as extremely arrogant.
    He mentioned that he teaches at CUNY, glad I am not a student in one of his classes.

  • Dan

    Yes another comment on the poor behavior on this morning’s ON POINT:

    Mr. Wolff needs to respect the other guests, the callers, and hey, maybe the host too? On Point is one of my favorite WBUR generated shows (GO TOM!), and it is unfortunate Wolff’s interruptions detracted significantly from the program. I hope he receives an agitated call from his mother (“I thought I raied you better than that…”) and to never hear his voice on this fine show again. I’m sure Tom, host and moderator, was disappointed with his guests’ performance in this segment.

  • http://www.gaycheckml.com Maria L Gaycheck

    Robot.txt — One file is all that Murdoch needs to add to their domains. All this media frenzy is about putting one file on the domains. Is the general public so stupid to think that this is a hard thing to keep search engines from grabbing content. You do not need to do anything more than add Robot.txt with a few lines of code to keep your content from Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other searching function app on the internet.

    Jeez people. Seriously, just one file.

  • mike

    Three of the most obnoxious people ever featured on this program.

  • Arthur Cohen

    Wolff may have a point through all his bombast–it’s hard to see any long term future for most major newspapers, but as much as he decries the religion of newspapers, and points out the decline of objective, in-depth and original reporting in newspapers, so his site Newsers dumbs news down to microbits that are as noisy as he is.

    The Boston’s Globe subscription rate hikes have forced me to cancel delivery, and I tell ya I miss that daily newspaper as much as I miss civil discourse. That was a religion I could believe in.

    That the rate base model doesn’t work anymore for newspapers is intriguing, in that it isn’t working for most online news publishers either–yet. If the inflection point isn’t reached soon, walled content may re-appear as a measure of desperation. That will be a self-defeating move, as NYT and others have discovered.

    So I have to agree with Wolff’s major premise, even though he’s clearly a schmuck.

  • Honey Donegan

    In this country, newspapers were a major player in teaching immigrants to speak English. The funny pages taught children to read. Newspapers educated people about many things. I don’t picture cuddling up with children in front of a computer!

    Jeff and Mark were rude, disrespectful and so busy spouting Their Truth, that they did not listen. They did not listen to the host, one another, or the people who called in. Their attitude made it difficult to listen to this show. Perhaps it would not be necessary to have them return? I certainly won’t buy their books now.

    Frankly, I think Murdock should watch his back as these two are fighting to see who can stand on Murdock’s grave.

  • Jean

    All that shouting, I don’t work at the pork belly market so my ears couldn’t keep up. Hearing aids don’t help when the crosstalk is in the radio. What did they say? Nothing about how easy it is for Rupert to pull his content off the net.

  • Janet Braunstein

    With time so short for each question and segment of the show, I never again want my time wasted by childish, narcissistic behavior like Michael Wolff’s again. After the second time. Alternatively, if I were Brill, I would politely excused myself from the show. If Wolff had coherent comments, he didn’t share them with Ashbrook’s listeners.

  • http://NPRonWBUR Steve Blair

    What fool calls Googles content “free”? “Free” content has to be predicated on the access point. For which I pay my internet provider. When I watch TV, I pay for the access to the cable company. They are the distributor. When I want to use the internet, I pay the provider (distributor).
    RADIO is the only access provider (distributor) that I consider “Free.” I pay NPR what I want to, when I feel I can afford to compensate them for the service of distribution.
    If Murdoch thinks I get it “Free” then He is misinformed on how the process of distribution works.
    Advertizers pay for the distribution, and I pay them when I purchase the product.
    Newspapers are just the delivery system. I stopped paying for newspapers because they are not efficient and I have to wade through too much of what I do not read.
    I hope the billionaire can make the profit he feels he is worth. But the magic is already done. The genie is out of the bottle. Someone more inteligent will make the profit. And that will be the next evolutionary phase of distribution for profit. I am not an economist, but I think that is the nature of free market capitalism.
    Murdoch has not a clue as to find a way to make the business model produce a profit and that is His frustration. Who cares? Bury him.

  • Jeff

    Wait!
    I think to be fair, Jeff Jarvis is getting lumped in with Michael.
    Jeff was being quite civil, especially given the over all tenor of discussion.
    Funny thing though.
    I ‘google imaged’ Michael Wolff and the second hit is a man who is on the board for the “Tourette Syndrome Association”.
    Hmmm ????

  • Leigh Griggs

    I agree with the others, these guests are rude, obnoxious, narcissistic and juvenile. I’m surprised that OnPoint invited these people.

  • Abby

    This show was a disaster considering the quality of guests. They were arrogant, rude and obnoxious with no respect for other participants in the show. Mr. Ashbrook is a great host and tried is best to contain these grown-up kids and this disappointment is not a reflection on his abilities. Maybe the producers of OnPoint should do a more detailed background check of the guests that are invited to the show in order to avoid such inefficient use of resources in the future.

  • Muazzam Ali

    Mr. Ashbrook,
    I love your show and great job you handled the situation well today. Its hard to control when kids fight.

    You have had other rude people on your show before but these three were exceptional. Please don’t invite them again.

  • ThresherK

    Michael Wolff should tone it down a little. But anyone who thinks this segment is a screaming hatefest should subject themselves to more Fox News (sic) or AM talk.

    The need for someone to correct an NPRer away from the squishy Beltway status quo is there.

    The Beltway Status Quo is full of people who used to be reporters and now can’t stop fetishizing over “real America” while favoring policies that actively harm those people. Chris Matthews and Mike Barnicle, anyone?

    PS Tom Ashbrook has never heard of “SLAPPs”, or “what corporations do with all their whiteshoe lawyers on retainer, when corporations aren’t lobbying against tort reform or the end of every regulation in the book”?

  • Dave Wheeler

    The Wall st journal subscription model works because people value its content as in the content can help them make money. Will people see the same value in Fox news? I doubt it, pay walls for those services will fail.

  • jonas

    There were so many things wrong with this show it is difficult to know where to start.
    First, to describe murdock as the person “who saved the news business” and did it by getting rid of people whose business was the “union business” REQIURES some comment by the M.C. Besides the problem of figuring out what the person meant by describing people as being in the “union business” it seems to be a comment that romantizes murdock by attacking people who are life long newspeople who are trying to maintain a decent standard of living. Come on!!! Murdock has become a multibillionaire by exploiting the news business. And in part by firing staff and reducing wages of hardworking people. In addition, can anyone besides Wolfe say with a staight face that what he did to his newspapers and with Fox news is even journalism let alone that it advances the “news business”? It only advances Murdock business, something very different.

    If you are going to have commentators who are obviously so biased can’t you at least explore what some of their slanders actually mean? Or don’t mean?

    Secondly, please intruct Wolfe that rudeness and preventing others from talking is not permitted.

    Shades of your shows with dershowitz screaming down anyone who thought that a Plaistinian is a human being

  • Brett

    Yowza! One of the “guest’s” quoted Dylan Thomas early on; I think the “guest’s” phrase was “‘rage against the dying of the light…’” and there certainly was a mentality of raging against something today! A “‘do not go gentle into that good night’” going on here, to say the least! Of course, the poem from which these lines come is about dying…

    Their opinions were completely obscured by their rudeness. Tom earned his pay today! He was more of a “referee” than “moderator.” The show degenerated into an audio version of spectacle, and it was reduced to a Fox-style, passive-aggressive, dig fest.

    Rupert seems to be ginning something up here. Is it to make Google blink and fork over a quarter of a billion dollars? Is it a kind of Teabagger astroturf charade to sway opinion toward Murdoch and his ilk? Perhaps Rupert is just an old man looking for one last fight against a newer paradigm unraveling an outmoded business practice? The old ways will never be revived. Maybe old Rupert is just looking for a blood bath and wants to push the whole business of bringing people news over the cliff? Many of his media outlets have already succeeded in that regard! I’m sure old Rupert has many ways to protect his content already. Let him wall up! He’ll shoot himself in the foot for lack of creativity in playing hardball mogul. He’s not quite savvy enough to make his ‘robber baron’ persona last.

    …With all of the insults and pot shots, there was little time–or proper decorum–to tackle the larger questions: how are modern forms of media going to earn a buck? When is there going to be a better business model for advertising within the context of online media?

    And let Wolff, and even Brill (for starting the degenerating tone by saying the two other “guests” were “‘from another planet’” in his first sentence on air) go spew to their hearts’ content on Bill O’Riley.

  • Curtis

    What ever happened to CIVIL Discourse? [Where I talk, and you listen, and then I listen while you talk.] This program was NOT what I have come to expect from On Point. Very disapointed in the quality of the program today. I totaly agree with the comments of Mr. S Joyner. Tom – take back your show…

  • Rebecca B.

    I agree that this was a difficult exchange, but remember that this is a very important issue. Unfortunately, we, the people, are not talking about it or worrying about it. We suffer to lose the most if all content is free, because the quality is going to continue to suffer for that trend. So instead of letting these “insiders” debate it, we should debate whether we are going to lie down and let them decide our future.

    The newspaper industry really lost their power years ago when they allowed AP and Reuters to take over the creation of news and then paid them for it. Right now, the people only have the NYTimes, the Wall Street Journal, the BBC and NPR for any real news. I even heard NPR credit a website for their facts the other day. Shame! We are not going to get the real story from people who do not have the funds to pay for reporters with (hopefully) no axe to grind.

    Don’t be fooled by the “new economics” of the internet. All of the brokers said the economics had changed prior to the dot-com crash. They were proven wrong. Google and other content aggregators are not “creating” wealth. They are just finding places to steal value from others. Don’t worry about Murdoch, worry about whether a real journalist will get a paycheck from somebody. If Google and aggregators do not sign the paychecks, then eventually the paychecks will go away because Google has stolen from those who could afford to write them.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    I was psyched to hear this show. I’m flying today so missed it live but the plane has free wifi (Virgin) and I just listened to the first 20 minutes of it and turned it off. I can see by the comments above that things got worse. Ugh.

    Tom: you’re an expert at moderating these kinds of interviews and your skill at this is one of the many things that makes OnPoint a winning show. You’re allowed to have one show get away from you like this but I hope a lesson was learned and you’ll make sure that future guests know how to be civil.

    This is a great case in point on the difference between an NPR audience and a FOX audience isn’t it.

    Oh, and I hope Eric Schmidt yanks all Murdoch holdings out of google’s indexing. Marginalize the bastard.

  • Chris

    I too was highly offended by Mr. Wolf’s mean-spirited interruptions and turned off the radio a couple of times. But you have to wonder: if Mr. Wolf is so confident he is the future of web news, why is he so put out by Mr. Brill? I think I found an answer by looking at Mr. Wolf’s web site, http://www.newser.com. He’s peddling mostly trash and smut! It’s pure tabloid junk. He’s right to feel threatened by someone with some class and some ethics. It’s ironic that when he says newspaper reporters are all hacks and the lowest of the low, he seems to be referring to his own sources!

  • GMcKeown

    I can’t wait for Murdoch to disappear behind a paywall. I won’t miss him. I would much rather pay for news via NPR than via Fox.
    Murdoch said in the interview clip played near the start of the segment that people were quite happy to pay for content on in a printed newspaper, therefore they should pay for it online. Has he looked at his circulation figures? People are not ‘happy’ paying for printed newspapers. Fewer and fewer of them are doing it.
    I think it will take a while before people get used to the model of paying for content, not the media via which it is delivered. The print media has brought it upon themselves though. Why is a hardback book so much more than a paperback of the same content? Why is a weekly magazine so much more expensive than a daily newspaper with as much content? If we’re conditioned to associate price with the physical media, pixels on a screen seem worthless.

  • Emily

    I loved the lively discussion this morning! Finally! To have three guests so passionate about the topic was wonderful. More like this.

  • Nate

    First, I have to agree. I have never heard two adults acting more like children. Such ego and disrespect really weakened their arguments. HOWEVER, there is something really BIG happening here. A monumental power shift is occuring.

    Rupert Murdoch seems to be acting like the Robber Barons of old. When the economic models began to shift thereby making the means by which a Baron gained wealth obsolete the Barons went kicking, screaming, and crying foul and did whatever they could to hold onto the “old way”. The very means by which Rupert Murdoch aquired wealth are being threatened and he cannot keep up. If he cannot even use email or see it’s intrinsic value to business how could he even begin to fathom the revolution that is The Internet? The longtail on this will see Murdoch loose. Just as print newspapers, old school print publishers, and the like will either reinvent themselves & thrive or die.

  • JJ

    It is a rare treat for me to be able to tune in to “On Point”. The show offers up delicious food for the mind. Today’s show, peppered with Mr. Wolff’s vitriolic diatribes, instead made me feel nauseous. I, too, almost turned it off but I was compelled to listen hoping that someone would be able to shut him up and/or instruct him on the nuances of mature and enlightened conversation.

  • Nancy

    As an almost daily listener of Tom Ashbrook’s excellent program, I was flabbergasted at Michael Wolff’s rude, arrogant behavior this morning. I strongly disagree with his offensive dismissal of all newspaper writers as hacks (though I had to chuckle at his point about Watergate). Still, his obnoxious tone undercut any valid point he might have been making. The kicker on his newser website says it all: “Read Less, Know More.” No more of him, please. Also, I agree with an earlier comment, that it was unfair to lump Jeff Jarvis in with the others.

  • Ean Koenig

    Pondering the information and ideas in this segment, i begin to suspect that the discussion went mostly wide of the dynamic at play. Mr. Murdoch, in phrasing his statements in terms of “stealing” seems to me to mis-cast (deliberately or otherwise) the nature of the market and the transactions or potential transactions under discussion. The host and guest of this radio segment, in following the false trail set out, apparently blundered down a whole range of blind alleys (not uninteresting in their own right) that maybe didn’t quite put a finger on the button of what Murdoch’s gambit could end up meaning for the online media environment.

    On the face of it, the idea that search engines (Google and Co.) somehow “steal” from news organizations (Murdoch et al.) is a bit absurd. It’s like a publisher leaving a thousand copies of the newspaper in Times Square with a “FREE” sign on them, and then complaining because someone starts going around telling people, “Hey, there’s a bunch of free newspapers in Times Square!”. It’s the content provider’s decision about what and how to charge for access to their content. The fact that news media hasn’t been able to come up with a successful model for generating revenue from what they have to offer is so not Google’s responsibility (ethically or legally speaking).

    That said, however, it is true, as an earlier poster noted, that Google has made quite a lot of money, partly by telling people where to look for “free” newspapers. I’d guess that Murdoch is betting the chunk of money Google makes from linking to his sites (by whatever metric google might have to measure these things) is large enough that Google would be unwilling to lose it. Another earlier poster blythely asserted that if Google lost access to Murdoch sites, they’d easily be able to “fill the pages” with something else. Maybe so, but on the other hand, maybe the loss to google would be more significant than that. Maybe it would be significant enough that Google actually would be willing to pay off Murdoch, rather than lose that access.

    Thus (if this line of thinking is correct), while the line the Murdoch feeds the public is, “they’re stealing from me and I deserve to be compensated,” the message to Google is more along the lines of, “you need me more than I need you, so cut me in on your profits or I walk.” One way of looking at this is that he’s trying a new business model in which he attempts to generate revenue by selling his content to the search engine instead of to individual users. The idea behind such a move would be essentially something like, “I (Murdoch) can’t sell news online, but you (Google) can, so go ahead and sell it, but first you have to buy it from me.”

    If Murdoch were able to get Google to go for the arrangement, it could very well bypass entirely the conversation about whether or not it is possible, profitable, or desirable to charge people for access to online news. The cost of access would be rolled into the cost of using Google (whatever that is???). I got the impression, however, that some sort of conversation along these lines has been ongoing between Murdoch and Google, and that Google hasn’t been interested. Murdoch’s public statement strikes me as a ploy to bully or shame Google into rethinking its position.

    This is sort of an off the cuff analysis, but it’s the only way that i can find to make rational sense out of the situation.

  • joan davidson

    Amen to those who commented abut and criticized Wolf. He was 1)juvenile 2)rude 3) sarcastic and caustic 4)in- experienced in every area he claims to know so well, and in particular journalism.

    Tom, if you wanted contraversy and conversation invited folks who will truly listen to each other before ingerrupting and mking nasty cracks.

    Dr. Joan Davidson.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Ean Koenig’s analysis makes sense to me. If Google pays Murdoch to point people to his content (and collects revenues from ads or from internet providers or however that works), then I suspect every poster of content would be wanting to be paid (paid off). And Google is well situated to know exactly how many eyeballs have gone to which content and so could pay with extraordinary fairness. There could be a sort of Dow Jones average hourly posting to list a certain special select few news sources, to show whose content is getting the most eyeballs and therefore commanding the highest fee that day from Google.
    So all the news “hacks” would wind up working for Google? I’ve got to think about this.

  • Jason Tornquist

    I was looking forward to an interesting and informative discussion about this topic and I was disturbed at the complete lack of civil and courteous discount that was on diplay this morning. I love this show and I think Tom does a great job but these “guests” made this otherwise great show and interesting topic nearly unbearable to listen to. I cannot convey the full extent of my displeasure.

    Keep up the good work Tom.

  • http://www.conferencedepartment.com Roger Wilson

    Great show. The power of the media is flow of few sources to many minds. The vision of the future of the media as a many to many mediated by “filtering” agents really gets us from big old media to big new media with a stage of hyper competition and rapid innovation in between. If you look at the history of communication, you see these cycles in the past. Your guests were correct that it is a wonderful time to be in the media business! But their view of the future seems ahistorical. RBW http://www.conferencedepartment.com

  • Moe Black

    Michael Wolff, for lack of a better term is a douchebag. I was hoping to listen to an informed reasonable conversation and got something that I’d expect from cable. Keep up the good work Tom, and please don’t invite him again.

  • TJ

    Those of you who think the guests were “rude” and obnoxious are sissies. I thought the heated debate was awesome! I have never donated money to NPR before but now I will.

    I listened twice (online, for free) and I really appreciated both of your guests’ perspectives.

    Paying for news online makes no sense. I would never do it an neither would 90% of the people I know. Remember when the LA Times tried to do that? They must have figured out that it didn’t work. Media companies make their profit from advertising, not the token 25 cents per copy. That money just goes straight into these media moguls’ kids’ trust funds.

    Down with Rupert Murdoch and let’s get on with the real business of democracy.

  • http://www.conferencedepartment.com Roger Wilson, The Conference Department

    Great show. The power of media is the voice of the few projected to the many. The vision of a “many to many” media future mediated by “filtering” agents really gets us from big old media to big new media after the current stage of hyper-competition. Jarvis and Wolf are looking at a section of the cycle and trending it out indefinately. They have it right in the short term but their very certainty and bombast is the sign that the cycle will crest. The big question is when. They are right that it is a great time to be in the media business. Some of us will make piles of money!

  • Gordon

    These people are horrible! What an insufferable gaggle of blowhards.

  • Sam Wilson

    Whats Rupert’s problem??

    To read wsj.com I pay so do all other readers, doesnt matter if one is getting to wsj.com from Google or Yahoo.

    Rupert is either too dumb or he is trying to brew some new business idea..

    May the Best Idea win!!!

  • Paul Zagaeski, media analyst

    Just listened to the podcast, and have to disagree with the majority of comments. I enjoyed the give-and-take. Brill is generally the more defensive of the three voices heard on Google vs. Murdoch, primarily because, as Michael Wolff correctly pointed out, he’s had very visible failures and is now eager to regain the limelight with Journalism Online. I’ve heard both Wolff and Jarvis in many other contexts (podcasts, mostly), and wasn’t surprised by what they said. The problem, I fear, is the compressed timeframe of the On Point hour doesn’t allow enough time for either of them to completely explain the Google/Murdoch issues. It sounded to me like both were trying to get all their normal talking points out during the limited time available. Brill would have needed the entire hour to explain and defend Journalism Online, by the way, and in the end would not have been able to present any evidence of the initiative’s potential success, any evidence that anyone is willing to pay anything for online news sites.

    And that’s the real bottom line: We’ve known for about 10 years that news consumers aren’t going to pay for news online when there are so many freely available alternatives (forget Murdoch’s claim that “we had it wrong, we should have been charging all along”. People would have abandoned newspaper/magazine websites more quickly in that case). Jarvis had it right, and elaborates in What Would Google Do?: the new link economy generates value through links and the audience that follows the links. The newspaper industry has been unaware of this and hasn’t reacted fast enough, and it may be too late for some to re-invent themselves.

    Great show.

  • Doug Sutherland

    I turned it off. Poorly controlled discussion.

  • C. Kitchin

    Times Select had 220,000 subscribers paying $50/year. There’s a canard that it failed. The NYT panicked at the decrease in page views and pulled the plug. If your host and guest had not become so over-excited at bashing the old media business model, as represented by Brill, you might have learned something. The end of your show was like listening to science fiction fans declaiming on some dearly held plot point. Please take a breath! http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23050

  • C. Kitchin

    ‘”When we look at why people quit buying the newspaper, it’s overwhelmingly because ‘I can get it for free online,’”… [says newspaper exec]… Whenever the [NYT] top editors speak in public, they invariably encounter readers who, expressing amazement at being able to read the paper online for free, plead for ways to donate to it. In 2002, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette started charging for online content… the circulation of its daily print edition has held steady… at a time when that of most other papers has fallen…’

    And the rest of the article is interesting too. A New Horizon for the News, By Michael Massing. NYRB, September 24, 2009. Link above.

  • Putney Swope

    The Wall Street Journal charges for it’s content.
    They always have, it seems to be working.

    I agree Wolf is a bit much, but he was right in what he was saying about the news and content.

    Tom was out matched here, but I do feel for him he was dealing with a cad. Michael Wolff is the Addison DeWitt of media.

    Come to think of it, there is great line from “All About Eve” when Margo Channing (Bettie Davis) says; “Buckle your seat belts; It’s going to be a bumpy night!”
    How appropriate for this show.

  • Joe Kesselman

    Ditto the observation by Ambrose Finklestein at the top of this list. Anyone who doesn’t want to be indexed already has a mechanism for requesting they not be indexed; legitimate search engines and archives will honor that request.

    This is a publicity stunt, pure and simple, and you folks played right into Murdoch’s hands.

    Next time, RESEARCH YOUR STORY BEFORE GOING ON AIR.

  • Christopher

    But – my God! – whatever caliber of his pedigree, Wolf comes across as a bombastic bully in this format.

    Yes, we get it, Brill’s “the bad guy”, but let the man speak and then – when it’s your turn – respond.

  • HT

    I can’t believe how annoying and disrespectful Michael Wolff is on this episode.

  • bez

    Wow. Emotions are high tonight…

    Yes, but a “cacophony of voices” is typically of lesser quality than (solid) expert opinion. Been on YouTube lately? There’s no smorgasborg of great programming, just a cacophony of dreck.

  • Mary Kate

    Michael Wolff is such an a$%hole. For the love of God, please don’t ever have him on again.

  • Dean Remy

    Your guest are amongst the rudest and most beligerent I have EVER had the displeasure of hearing. Their approach at the arguement only served to demonstrate the low quality which we will see as the fate Of journalism.

  • Dean Remy

    Ironic that the WBUR comment sections asks that we “stay on topic, be polite, and be brief. Funny that your 2 pm air guests couldn’t follow these norms.

  • jerry shapiro

    i thought this was npr, not wrestling. who allowed this pig michael wolff on the air? and why can’t the moderator cut him off? he’s a blowhard who has never gotten anything right about anything. wow. what a loser.

  • Paul

    The show is fantastic. Very often but especially today. You get the best out of each other, being controversial. I do hope Steve’s ideas will work out.

  • Jon

    I will donate a year’s salary to the BBC and Tom before I give one red cent to Murdoch’s organization, or any organization that deliberatly attempts to mislead those that come to them for answers or information. Google should drop the news links to Fox and MSNBC. It isn’t news anyways. I hope this move brings down his company while he’s alive to see it. Karma will get you eventually.
    This should have been part of the Onion show… Topic: Murdoch requests Google drop news links on internet. Reply: whoops we never noticed how your stuff made it into the news page in the first page. We’ll fix it for you.

  • Lee Bradford

    The behavior of Michael Wolff made me turn off the program. I will turn off any program in which he will be on.

  • thomas warren

    I lost track of the argument, Mr Wolff totally too obnoxious to listen to. Must be a strategy because he has nothing to say…tw st louis

  • M Hoffman

    Michael Wolf is acting like a jerk and should not be invited back.

  • Michael

    Interesting, the fact google most likely traffics people to Mudrdoch sites is normally could charge a fee themselves to do so. They always ways for Murdoch to bloke or stop such content but i’m guessing since its Murdoch he has a agenda in his attempts. Remember Murdoch may be a lier, cheat, propagandist but he’s not dumb not at all. And since he controls the Wall street journal, Foxs, sky news,the republican party, officials he can easily spin this into something totally different, maybe like a war against wall street, spying, or anti-trust laws. Sounds Silly but foxs has spun things far easier.

  • Jeanine

    For two guys who laud the internet for its cacophony of voices, Michael Wolf and Jeff Jarvis spent much of their time here drowning out the voices of others. I expect more courtesy from NPR guests to both other guests and callers and a greater effort from Tom Ashbrook to keep his guests in line so the hour is valuable to listeners. While I think both sides of this debate likely have valid points, I didn’t hear them on this program: Wolf and Jarvis demonstrated quite well how too many unfiltered voices stomping all over each other obfuscate rather than elucidate.

    Very possibly the most annoying hour of radio I’ve ever heard.

  • Patricia Herlevi

    As a former freelance print journalist (I covered the arts and culture), I want to make a few points.

    I am not a fan of Murdoch by a long shot since his empire killed real local newspapers. Nor do I care for the Internet news model. Online journalists often work for free (I can attest to this), or work for slave wages (take a look at all the online media companies and their wage structure for journalists).

    The problem with allowing the newspapers and print publications to fade out and replace them with free online news content is that journalists are losing their jobs in large numbers, and many of these journalists do not know another trade because they have worked in journalism for 20+ years.

    When I lost my regular freelance gig with a newspaper arts supplement last winter, at the same time, the Seattle Post Intelligencer discontinued the newspaper and kept only 20% of their staff. The Seattle Times cut I believe, around 500+ jobs throughout the newspaper, local newspapers in my region laid off staff and cut wages, and throughout Oregon I saw the same thing. I was not able to find another newspaper job anywhere and I am a freelance writer, with no health insurance and I paid my own taxes. Other freelance journalists I came in contact with were in the same boat.

    So unless online news sites come up with a model that pays journalists the same wages they earned with print publications, there will be another huge dent in our economy and a lot of talented news people standing in bread lines.

    I also want to comment that the guests seemed rude to me, cutting each other off and not allowing others to make their point. I realize that this happens with the uglier side of journalism, but these guests made a bad case for themselves. I personally, wanted to hear both sides of the argument rather than listening to Mike Wolf lord over the program.

    And the final point I want to make, the guests made a huge generalization saying that journalists are hacks. Yes, some journalists write from press releases, because their plates are full and they have many stories to turn around and some journalists are lazy, but to bring down the entire profession by saying journalists are hacks, does some of us a dis-service. I never wrote from a press release. And even though I wrote about the arts and not hard news, I was thorough with my research and asked in depth questions. I personally, don’t like being called a hack nor do I feel that other journalists enjoy the label either.

  • Mary Kimball

    While it was exciting to listen to such a heated discussion, it became increasingly difficult to understand as the guests got more and more passionate/angry about their points. Maybe in a two or three person argument you can talk over one another, but this is radio. I had a very hard time catching the guests’ points when they talked over each other. Also, for OnPoint, I thought all the guests were uncharacteristically rude, especially to the listeners.

    Tom, I think you did a good job trying to keep them in check.

  • Michael

    I think it went ugly when the third guest came on and made a snide comment at the first two, setting off Mike W. and the other the rest of the show.

    If you listen when tom invited the 3rd guest to speak, his first sentence were a attack on the others setting the stage for what we saw today.

  • roger

    how can you possibly take seriously the delusions of a man (murdoch) who has never used the internet? unqualified to open his mouth on this subject and doomed to failure. hooray!

  • http://www.gimmesound.com Peter Van Ness

    There was lively debate on this show about the future of journalism with one of the guests suggesting that bloggers will replace newspapers — and that reporters are hacks who rewrite news releases.

    As someone who is often written about in a local paper (the Gloucester Daily Times), I wonder whether I am a hopeless romantic to assume that there is still room for editors in the grand scheme of things.

    I have first hand experience working with an excellent editor, Ray Lamont, at Gloucester Daily Times. Since he took over, the writing, investigating and reporting have all improved.

    I know for a fact that his reporters don’t just rewrite news releases. They’ve never done that for me. If they print anything inspired by a news release I send, they always have their own angle. They call me and ask questions. Then they print a quote from that interview — never any of the quotes I slaved over in the news release.

    Is Gloucester an anomaly? Has the journalistic ethic really vanished elsewhere? Do I live in a time-warp?

    Are there truly no more Ben Bradlees out there?

  • Ellen Dibble

    To tell the truth, I thought the remark about news reporters just rewriting news releases was beneath contempt. It wasn’t deserving of fair dispute. I thought I’m no editor; who am I to point this out.
    But I’ll second that last post of Peter Van Ness. Where I live, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, under Mr. Foudy now, functions for me as a kind of uber-eye. They have techno-savvy folks there who manage to absorb for us what is going on not only locally, not only on the “wires” from the couple of sources where they pull national news, but from more of the internet than I could ever sort of poll.
    How do I know this? Do they keep citing their surfing habits?
    No, but they combine very local styles of fine writing, very local perspectives and interests, with a big boost for me in terms of sort of predigesting the datasphere, and it never feels redundant.

  • Michael

    I kind of agree about the comment of re-writing the news stories. Just look at any news station say foxs,cnn, msnbc, cbs and even NPR, it seems many of if not all the journalist are just repeating what they got from the AP, with a slant, example would be KSM, Fort Hood,Going rogue where it was recycled what foxs said, and foxs took what cbs said and cnn took what cbs said npr even onpoint to what foxs said.

    All the journalist repeated and wrote about the same thing, than the next day, did the same thing with journalist writing about it almost the same thing except a little slanted.

    Even NPR regurgitates the same news over and over again. Our media has become sensation seeking whores, who will report or aggravate anything that can get them higher ratings, and once one station rating go up the others follow suit.(bubble boy) ( Nicole Simpson), (birthers) How long did the media milk these stories?

    Journalism like it once was objective and fact base has been replaced with Balance and opinion base, where emotions often trump facts. Along with Expert opinions were once objective of political or ideology line are now used to push a political or ideology agenda.

  • Michael

    2005 drop in think tanks but look what think tanks NPR go to first
    1.brookings Institute
    2.Heritage Foundation
    3.AEI
    4.Cato

    anything close to a liber Think tank is 11th on the list when i find the 2007 list i bet it be even farther down.
    http://www.fair.org/images/NewChart.jpg

  • Brett

    Of course, reading and repeating news from the AP wire isn’t anything new…I worked in broadcasting over thirty years ago, and that is mostly how we did it.

  • S.G.

    To all the commenters who have posted about robots.txt – you’re right that it solves Google crawling the site, but it is not a silver bullet. Robots.txt are recommendations, they are not binding, and dishonest search engines and crawlers can (and will) still siphon content for their spam farms and parasite websites.

  • Colm Rogers

    Most annoying show in a long time. I turned it off after a while. Please don’t have those guests back, and don’t waste website space by archiving it.
    It sounded like a couple of arseholes arguing in a pub after they’ve drunk too much.

  • Patricia

    Perhaps someone already commented on this, but without subscribers to print media such as a newspaper or magazine, it’s impossible to sell advertisments which the guests said pay for the newspapers.

    The subscriber base and the advertising do feed off one another. Many of us journalists lost our jobs because subscriptionship and ad sales were too low to keep a publication afloat.

    Think of it this way, businesses enduring a slow economy are conservative with their advertising/marketing dollar. These businesses will buy ads if those ads reach a large readership, otherwise, it’s like giving money to charity–it’s for a good cause, but it hardly keeps a business afloat.

  • David McIntosh

    The great thing about print journalism is that you don’t have to listen to people yelling at each other. If somebody’s being foolish, annoying, and uncivil, you can just turn the page. Not so with radio.

    This was the worst episode of On Point, I’m willing to assert, that has ever been on the air. Michael Wolfe belongs on one of the Fox TV shout-fests, but not on your intelligent, open-minded program.

    We all make mistakes. You made a mistake by inviting this screaming meanie onto your show. Your producer made a mistake my not cutting off Wolfe’s microphone. I made a mistake by not turning off the radio.

    What a horrible morning. I look forward to better ones with you in the future.

  • Alan Hart

    I really enjoyed the programme and though I felt for Tom with such unruly guests, the tension added something for me.

  • Krista Knudson

    As a fiercely loyal On Point listener, I’ve listened to almost every show since 2001.
    Rarely have I found a show where each of the three guests are such arrogant, rude jerks (to each other, to Tom and to the callers). I hope none of them are invited to participate again. Frankly, I couldn’t bare to listen to them for one moment longer.

    “Respectful response? Do you have one?” Tom — you are wicked awesome.

  • Ed

    Wow, what rude guests. Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have a chance to speak. Yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Wolf.

    For all the sound and fury, I didn’t get a very good idea about how reporting is should or will be funded in the future, other than that one 200k/year blogger.

  • Tim

    Please don’t ever, ever, ever have Michael Wolff on your show again. I will turn it off immediately. Jeff Jarvis was not much better.

  • Tim Shriver

    I love OnPoint and have never heard a more competent and skillful host than Tom Ashbrook.

    That’s a testament to how arrogant, inappropriate, and ridiculous his supposedly “expert” guests were on the show. Especially Michael Wolf. I expect he had never heard the show before and came in with a different set of expectations. OnPoint is great because it features intelligent, well-spoken true experts in a civil discussion. This guy was just a self-promoting, arrogant, all-around jerk.

    I, too, have never been moved to comment on the show before this. It was pretty much a trainwreck. Tom kept treating Mr. Wolf with respect even when he had already shown that he deserved none.

  • Renato Yoshida

    Unfortunally no news organization has figured out yet a way of charging fairly without either losing readership or revenues. Until it happens debates full of fury and love like the one today will be not uncommon.

  • Jeremy W

    Are we taking for granted that the future of news will be done by smaller, independent companies? I think so. I don’t know what the benefits/negatives will be, but I believe that news on a national level will be more chaotic.
    Journalism costs money, real money. What Chomsky says makes sense: the government is deemed a reliable source because verifying costs too much, so propaganda is simply passed on to the reader.

    If independent journalists become viable and can make a living BASED on their reporting then it will improve the news for the viewer. At that level, costs can be managed more efficiently.
    I think at the level Murdoch operates, he won’t be able to profit from the new possible model, so he is trying to eek out what he can, now. It makes sense to me and probably to many he employs.
    ~J

  • Timothy Clough

    If I had wanted to listen to a show like this, I would have turned to Murdoch’s own Fox News, not NPR or other public radio. I had to stop listening midway through the show. I’m glad to see that the vast majority of the comments for or against this kind of show were against. Judging by the time when these comments started coming in in droves, it must have gotten a lot worse after I quit listening.

    I have heard other guests on public radio programs (On Point and others) who interrupted and talked over others, but never have I heard anyone as bad as this.

    Again, if I had wanted this, I would have turned to Fox News, not public radio.

  • Kevin

    I just listened to this show online and have to agree with the majority of those who have left comments here. Wolff, especially, but also Jarvis and Brill to a point were abrasive, obnoxious and childish. Michael Wolff should have a restraining order put out against him that would prevent him from getting with several miles of a microphone.

    Good grief, it was like listening to a bunch of squabbling 6th graders.

  • Adam W. Dorris

    Wow, I just listened to this podcast and I almost couldn’t make it through the whole thing. These guests were nearly the rudest I’ve ever heard on On Point (possibly barring the interview with that horrible woman who writes the Sex in the City garbage, and the interview with the awful founder of Maxim), and by far the rudest and most infuriating people I’ve heard on NPR in quite a while. When even Tom Ashbrook, the most graceful referee in broadcast, can’t keep you in line, then you are a serious, total, inexcusable jerk.

    Jeff Jarvis, Michael Wolff, and Steven Brill — I haven’t heard such pompous, demeaning, disdainful arrogance in quite a long time. You could have scarcely shown more contempt for your audience and everyone else in the conversation, and I’m not sure you once bothered to hear anything anyone said. You are all complete disgraces to knowledge and discourse, and you’ve got utterly zero credibility with me now. I will be sure to speak ill of you and your ventures at every opportunity and in every relevant venue. Shame on you, and please stay away from NPR — you are suitable for little more than the likes of Fox News and MSNBC.

  • http://youngfoxyfree.com Michael Lachowski

    I had to turn off the podcast too. I came to On Point’s website just so I could establish the names of the two irritating guests so I can actively avoid any of their projects and to ensure that I don’t suffer their opinions ever again.

    Tom Ashbrook, I know you’ve got your own system in place, but using the mute button might be the best way to regulate guests such as this once the program is underway and they refuse to contain themselves. I’d say you should reserve the right to apply that level of control over your guests in advance; maybe the more abusive ones would manage themselves a bit better—who knows.

    Too bad this topic didn’t get a civilized airing. I made it to minute 38 of 45, but had stopped “listening” even sooner.

  • Paul Grier

    Steven Brill’s comments and perspective were most interesting. It’s too bad that Michael Wolff’s childish – and extraordinarily rude – behavior took the show to a low level. Perhaps Mr. Wolff could learn that personal attacks directed to another guest don’t strengthen his own argument.

  • Steve roslonek

    Tom Ashbrook proves what a great mediator/facilitator he is. Thanks for On Point – one the best programs on radio.

  • Tellie Meninger

    While I’m sympathetic to warnings about mythologizing the American press and the potential for new media to give voice to new people and perspectives — if Michael Wolff is representative of ‘new journalism’, I’ll take a pass.

  • http://www.pnart.com Peter Nelson

    Several points need to be made:

    1. robots.txt is only advisory – it’s not enforceable and any web-bot/web-crawler is free to ignore it.

    2. All the traffic that Google sends to Murdoch’s sites don’t help Murdoch pay his reporters unless that traffic creates revenue. Most of us heavy-users of the web have extremely strong ad-blockers. I hardly EVER see ads on websites I frequent so how are they supposed to make money off of me? (and even if I saw an ad it would never make me buy something, so what’s the point of seeing it?)

    3. NPR also relies on an anachronistic funding model. I consume a lot of NPR content but I consume ALL of it on the internet, by going to the sites where the particular show is produced. I have no idea what “my local” NPR affiliates, WBUR and WGBH, actually carry because I don’t listen to them! I send them money out of pity or charity, but in the internet age geography is irrelevant. I don’t feel any “closer” to WBUR than I do to WAMU in Washington or WBEZ in Chicago. The idea of local station membership is meaningless in the internet age and NPR will face the same problems as newspapers.

  • http://www.pnart.com Peter Nelson

    The subscriber base and the advertising do feed off one another. Many of us journalists lost our jobs because subscriptionship and ad sales were too low to keep a publication afloat.

    People, like me, who don’t want to see ads don’t have to.

    There are only two ways to solve this (both for NPR and the newspapers):

    Pure subscription, as many medical and scientific journals already do, and as the Wall Street Journal also does.

    Automatic micropayments. Internet micropayment schemes have been around for a decade or more but none of them have caught on because they are cumbersome, make people nervous about security, and have too much overhead.

    This last point is worth noting: The NPR program Car Talk has literally millions of listeners and is cheap to produce. So in theory the per-listener cost of one episode of Car Talk is a fraction of a cent. Internet micropayment systems have too high a transaction cost to handle that – Even if the listener paid 1 cent per show the majority of that money would go the to micropayment system, not to mention the cost of the distribution bandwidth!

    …Same thing with a newspaper article. What’s the production cost of one newspaper article divided by all the people who would read it? Again, it might be a fraction of a cent. Currently there’s no cheap way to bill for that.

    So a subscription model seems like the only feasible model, but you must have VERY compelling content. I am a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal, and several scientific research journals, but I can’t imagine any other daily newspaper I’d be willing to subscribe to with their current content.

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