STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Murdoch's Plans for the Future of the Internet
By Staff News & Analysis - November 23, 2010

Murdoch to launch The Daily, an iPad-only newspaper … Rupert Murdoch is planning to open an iPad-only newspaper called The Daily. The digital paper will cost $.99 a week ($4.25 per month) and have a newsroom of 100+ staff. The new paper will cover the country and break stories like any national news outlet, though The Daily will not have foreign correspondents or any staff in Washington D.C. This report seems to coincide with a story back in August pointing toward a new digital newspaper from News Corp. "There are three managing editors," reports John Koblin of WWD Media. "Mike Nizza, a veteran of The New York Times, AOL News and The Atlantic; Steve Alperin, a producer at ABC News, and Pete Picton, an online editor at The Sun in the U.K. Alperin's TV experience gives a hint to a valuable part of the newsroom: In addition to journalists, there will be plenty of people producing videos. Also, there will be lots of design staff." The paper should go into beta by Christmas and go public in early 2011. – Digital Trends

Dominant Social Theme: The genius media-mogul is at it again.

Free-Market Analysis: Here at the Bell we scrutinize the dominant social themes of the elite. When we attempt to analyze Rupert Murdoch's actions we often find ourselves making guesses as to how the elite visualizes the future of the 'Net from a publishing standpoint. In this analysis we will try to guess what Murdoch has in mind, not just from the standpoint of making The Daily a success, but in terms of his larger struggle against the alternative media of the Internet which has badly damaged his properties and provided him with the ultimate challenge of his career at a fairly late stage in his life.

The article excerpted above (from Digital Trends) provides plenty of clues about the positioning of elite plans: They intend to take advantage of the new application-platforms now being rolled out by Apple, Amazon, etc. They may well pay top dollar for a measure of exclusivity in this regard. Murdoch, the world's most successful publishing mogul has always used money power as a competitive advantage. He seems to have unlimited funds to purchase almost any major media property he wishes to.

In fact, we believe that much of his funding comes from the endlessly deep pockets of the power elite, a tiny group of fabulously wealthly banking families that have continually pushed, intergenerationally, for one world governance during the past 100 years at least. We believe that Murdoch's role is to establish conservative publications around the world that provide an alternative to liberal-socialist ones – as a support mechanism for this larger effort. Murdoch's role is to create a kind of Hegelian dialectic. Control both sides of the argument, and the discussion becomes infinitely fungible. It can be defined by the participants while everyone else is left out.

Because Murdoch has been so useful in this regard (our humble view) his portfolio of publications has regularly swollen. It now includes some of the most important in the world: The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the London Times and hundreds of others. He or his companies own publishing houses, movie companies and Internet sites. It is probably not an exaggeration to write that there has not been a single individual more powerful in publishing than Rupert Murdoch, or not since the days of Hearst anyway.

But for all of Murdoch's success, there is in his later days (in our view) an unfulfilled quality about him. He seems perpetually on the prowl, growling with hunger. We believe this is because the advent of the Internet came as a great shock and metaphorically damaged his system. We have hypothesized (tongue in cheek) that it happened in bed one morning. He simply woke up and realized that instead of being worth billions or tens of billions – the most powerful media mogul of his day – he was in fact sitting on top of a fairly worthless series of devaluing properties.

Yes, he understood as he lay with the covers pulled over his head that the billions he had spent were as good as wasted. The Internet, he realized that fateful morning, was going to make all his painfully assembled barriers to entry worthless. It was going to leapfrog the painfully amassed TV stations; it was going to pull massive millions away from his print properties. It was certain to devalue his movie and publishing ventures. He skipped breakfast …

Murdoch's problem was that he really wasn't in the publishing business. He was a propagandist. Even as a supposed free-market, conservative, small government type there was a lot he did not wish to cover regarding the modern era and a good deal that his vast army of journos could not cover. Murdoch's publications wrote of smaller government, but never managed to cover the West's military industrial complex that spent trillions on unnecessary wars and armaments every year. Murdoch's publications covered business mostly from a corporate perspective, neglecting to address issues regarding multinationals and mercantilism – how the state favored large enterprises and facilitated them.

Murdoch might even cover issues of personal liberty but only within the accepted confines of Leviathan's grasp. No discussions of anarchy for Murdoch. Nor even of the problems with monopoly state justice. Or the general dysfunction of regulatory democracy. This was his deal in fact, the reason he likely had access to so much power elite money. But during the earlier part of the decade he was very worried. His business model was in tatters. We have written, in fact, he sounded like Hamlet, constantly agonizing out loud. He went to conferences and blasted other publishers who did not see what he saw. He jumped into the Internet and bought a social network, intending to graft news onto it. He experimented with media pay walls and generally tried any way he could to ensure that his news enterprise was on the way to being viable again.

Why news? Nothing else really matters to Murdoch, or to those who seem to fund him. Murdoch's properties are ONLY valuable insofar as they serve as platforms for his news production – and it CANNOT BE FREE. No, people do NOT value what they do not pay for (or not in Murdoch's universe anyway). It was an exquisite kind of propaganda that he had purveyed in the 20th century, one that provided the message he (and his sponsors) wished to provide and with such certainty and precision that people were willing to pay whatever was necessary to receive it. And once they had paid, they would be receptive. He needed people to pay! It had nothing much to do with cash flow and everything to do with mind control.

The era of information scarcity was over and that the era of information plenty had begun. It was the difference between the 20th century and the 21st. Murdoch foresaw this; he has been working to reverse the tide every since, and we have observed him at it. We noticed it had begun to click for him over a year ago when he purchased the Wall Street Journal and began to place PART but not all of the publication behind a paywall. He did the same thing with other publications. At the same time he and other publishers became more aggressive about expanding copyright regulations and weakening fair use – in order to deprive Internet news aggregators of the ability to reproduce his articles.

But the most interesting part of Murdoch's new formulations – and he spoke of them at length – was his idea that his publications could pay top dollar to private technology platforms for the privilege of being presented with some level of exclusivity. This he has now begun to do. It is notable that he has named the publication "The Daily." It is a most iconic and non-specific name and well represents his ambitions to reinvent journalism at the broadest possibly level.

We would tend to believe that if The Daily shows signs of working, Murdoch will use his vast pocketbook to purchase more distribution agreements. A clever idea. If he can foreclose the competition, then he will be gaining share of mind while excluding the competition. The various lacunae in his news ventures will cease to matter so much as people tend to be less aware of reportorial omissions than comissions. Is this all that Murdoch has planned? Probably not. The elite never pursues just one strategy. In fact, Murdoch et al. have become far more aggressive in terms of lobbying Western government to enforce more Draconian copyright rules and to pare back "fair use" rights. We think outright censorship is part of this "pincer" strategy as well.

You see, it will do little good, in fact, to have a monopoly over application-distribution if people can still turn to the larger Internet itself to read the alternative news media – which will cover most if not all of what Murdoch and the power elite wish to leave out. For this reason, slowly but deliberately, through whatever means necessary, the larger Internet must be culled of alternative media. Any one of a number of actions can be taken against the larger 'Net in fact because Murdoch and other mainstream media moguls will have no need of it anymore. They will not be affected by what happens on the 'Net as they are deliberately developing an alternative media methodology.

Of course the above is speculative. We don't know exactly what runs through the mind of the mainstream's most powerful mogul. But we can see the patterns emerging and believe this is roughly what Murdoch and the people behind him have in mind. An era of information plenty is anathema to them on a variety of levels. In order to regain control of the conversation, they need to regain control of the Internet. They need to make it barren while concentrating on monopoly apps distribution.

Above, we have provided our best media (and Murdochian) analysis for you, dear reader. Do we think the plans we have presented are going to work? Well, no … not in the short-term. We think the kind of media damage control on which Murdoch has embarked is a long-term project indeed. We think, in fact, he and his colleagues likely let the Internet linger far too long and now many people are aware of the larger conversation and can easily detect its absence.

After Thoughts

We will end with a nursery ryhme regarding the great, eponymous cannon of Colchester's Royalists and its fate at the hands of the Roundheads when they finally toppled it from the tower of St. Mary's Wall Church.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king's horses, and all the king's men,

Couldn't put Humpty together again!

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