RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
I know all we're supposed to care about right now is Pennsylvania, but I'm a bit creeped out by what Rupert Murdoch is up to around these parts. As Newsweek discusses his plan to use his big money to wage war on The New York Times, he's now showing who's boss at The Wall Street Journal by micromanaging an overhaul of the paper and firing its managing editor, who's been on the job less than a year -- and he's putting the finishing touches on a deal to buy Long Island's Newsday, which he plans to run as a joint venture with his New York Post.
If you worry about media concentration in general, then it's worrisome to have one guy owning three papers in and around the media capital of the United States. To have that guy be Rupert Murdoch is especially worrisome. Whatever you think of the Times or the mainstream media in general, Murdoch, phony flirtations with Democrats notwithstanding, is the vast right-wing conspiracy these days. He's always used his papers to push his political agenda in the past, and now he has three potential propaganda organs here in the Big Apple.
Murdoch, Newsweek reminds us, is 77. So he can't hang on much longer, right? I don't know about that -- Sumner Redstone of Viacom and CBS will turn 85 next month and is still going strong. Being fabulously wealthy and the master of your universe keeps you young, I hear.
So Murdoch could be a menace for years to come -- and his little anti-Times pincers movement has the potential to make him even more influential in the next few years. Politics may be entering a post-Bush era, but the Murdoch era isn't going to end for a long time.
MORE: Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine also sees this as a "pincer movement" around the Times:
Add the New York Post, of course, and Fox News -- not to mention the Times of London -- and you have the New York Times cornered. Murdoch can attack from above -- national and international -- and below -- local -- and the the right flank -- ideological -- and the future -- TV and digital.
Ah yes, digital. I forgot to mention that he's not ruling out a joint bid (with Microsoft) for Yahoo.