On Tuesday morning, new media doyenne Arianna Huffington lit into Rupert Murdoch while speaking about the future of journalism in Washington, D.C. Lambasting the media tycoon's much-debated plan to block his content from Google, she laughed "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto." She defended the blunt tone by saying that online journalism has been similarly assaulted: "Playing nice has increasingly become a one-way street," she said. "Suddenly the air is filled with shrill, nonsensical, and misplaced verbal assaults on those in the new media."
Later in the day, she posted a sprawling takedown of Murdoch and other "ridiculous notions" put forward by the old media:
Thinking that removing your content from Google will somehow keep it "exclusive" shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the web and how it works... In his speech this morning, Rupert Murdoch confused aggregation with wholesale misappropriation. Wholesale misappropriation is against the law -- and he has legal redress against that already. Aggregation, on the other hand, within the fair use exceptions to copyright law is part of the web's DNA. Period...
Plus, let's be honest, many of those complaining the loudest are working both sides of the street. Take, for example, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Just look at the sites News Corp. owns, as TechDirt.com recently did, and you will see example after example after example of the pot calling the kettle black. And aggregating its content.
The Wall Street Journal has a tech section that's nothing more than a parasite -- uh, I mean, aggregator -- of outside content.
FoxNews.com has a Politics Buzztracker that bloodsucks -- uh, I mean aggregates and links to -- stories from a variety of different sources, including the NY Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and others.
Ending with a tone of solidarity, Huffington writes:
The sooner we all embrace that world, the sooner we'll be able to stop the name calling, put aside the increasingly desperate metaphors and increasingly desperate revenue models, and focus on what really matters: ensuring that in the future, journalism will not only survive, but be strengthened and thrive.
Is a Murdoch rejoinder in the works?