Old-media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has brought his duel with Google to his home turf--the Wall Street Journal. He reprinted his remarks on the future of journalism as an op-ed just days after Google CEO Eric Schmidt politely knocked him in the same pages. Whereas Schmidt called out Murdoch by name, turning the mogul's words against him, Murdoch was chary of direct allusions. Still, it was pretty clear who was on his mind when he said:
There are those who think they have a right to take our news content and use it for their own purposes without contributing a penny to its production. Some rewrite, at times without attribution, the news stories of expensive and distinguished journalists who invested days, weeks or even months in their stories—all under the tattered veil of 'fair use.'
Murdoch accused aggregators of theft, saying that their business model would ultimately implode. But he also saved a dose of ire for the federal government, particularly the FCC, whom he accused of "outdated thinking" when it came to "cross-ownership of media properties"--namely, rules that prevent one media company (say, Murdoch's own News Corp.) from having a monopoly over the content distribution channels in a given area.
In this new and more globally competitive news world, restricting cross-ownership between television and newspapers makes as little sense as would banning newspapers from having Web sites.
Is someone getting ready for another old-media spending spree?