Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Pirates! Rupert Murdoch Rails About Obama, Google and Silicon Valley

On Friday, Rupert Murdoch and his top executives gathered for a daylong private confab in Las Vegas to think big thoughts about digital stuff. I’m guessing there wasn’t a session entitled “How Great is Google?”

On Saturday, the News Corp. CEO used his new Twitter account to rail against the search giant, call it a “piracy leader,” and gripe that it had too much influence in Washington, and the White House, in particular. (Here we need to remind you that News Corp. owns this Web site.) Business Insider has all four of his “Internet makes me angry” tweets (Update: He’s back at it! More below), including the one he deleted, but here are the two relevant ones:

 

That amounts to an open invitation for Web pundits to sound off, which they were happy to accept. Techmeme is studiously collecting those responses, but the one I like best so far comes from Om Malik:

The obvious point to make here is that Murdoch’s venting (which his legal and PR handlers would love to quell, but can’t) was spurred by the White House statement which deflated the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills today. It’s also not the first time Murdoch has sounded off about Google.

In 2009, he went on a similar anti-Google crusade, though that one was more measured and planned, and involved many of his lieutenants. But do remember that in Rupe’s world, cursing loudly at someone doesn’t mean you can’t do business with them. A year after Murdoch was threatening to boycott Google, he cut a new deal with them. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Speaking of Murdoch’s lieutenants: We’ll have his top one, chief operating office Chase Carey, at our D: Dive Into Media conference at the end of the month. And we’ll have a high-ranking rep from Google, too: YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar. Guess we’ll have to revisit this with both of them: Grab a front-row seat.

Update: Just like a lot of fellow Twitter users, Murdoch is having a hard time disengaging. Two more here:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald