Patterico's Pontifications

2/25/2009

Rupert Murdoch Considering Buying L.A. Times?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:33 pm

Yes, says Variety. And The New York Times. And your little dog, too!

[D]oes Murdoch want to follow News Corp.’s $5 billion buyout of Dow Jones by gobbling up the struggling New York Times Co.?

The answer appears to be yes, as impossible as present economic conditions make it for most deals of any kind to get done.

What’s more, incredulous News Corp. insiders say Murdoch’s love of print media is so fervent that he’s also been talking about a play for the Los Angeles Times, which could make easier prey for several reasons.

All hail Rupert Murdoch’s love for print media!

Allahpundit calls it too good to check, and indeed, a staunch conservative could pass hours daydreaming about snarky responses to liberals upset about the L.A. Times‘s conservative bias. “Stop whining.” “Why can’t liberals produce a paper that sells?” All the unfair and stupid arguments they have made for years, thrown back in their faces!

All I ever really wanted was a paper that was fair, and reported the facts — straight down the middle, without distortions and misrepresentations.

But if I can’t have that, a Los Angeles Times owned by Rupert Murdoch would be an improvement over what we have now.

P.S. If you followed my Twitter feed, you would have known about this at lunchtime.

29 Responses to “Rupert Murdoch Considering Buying L.A. Times?”

  1. Which lucky son-of-a-gun gets to pinkslip Tim Rutten and Michael Hiltzik?

    JVW (3be410)

  2. I knew about it by 4 because of talk radio. Still, an improvement over the Times. Who knows ? Maybe he could make it work. Of course, all of West LA will cancel their subscriptions.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. Just once wouldn’t it be nice to hear a story about whats good in LA?

    About people making a difference?

    A crime story that actually has facts not social engineering commentary?

    EricPWJohnson (0d6f85)

  4. SWEET!

    Patricia (89cb84)

  5. I’m not going to hold my breath.

    AD - RtR/OS (5b97d9)

  6. Hey, if the Dirty Digger buys the LA Times, verily, the Sun could arise in LA … indeed, it could even include the traditional Page 3 explicit anatomy lessons …

    As I recall, Mr Murdoch doesn’t (didn’t?) enforce political views in his purchased newspapers, but rather left such things up to the newspaers’ own editorial staff – as long as the newspaper in question continues(d) to be suitably profitable …

    Alasdair (8fa9b9)

  7. The nutroots collective heads would assplode if the evil Rupert Murdoch bought one of their crown jewels of propoganda.

    JD (0e6191)

  8. I wouldn’t invest in a newspaper in a town what works so hard to engender apathy.

    happyfeet (4eacbc)

  9. Who says Rupert Murdoch’s media empire isn’t fair? Compared to the liberal networks, it’s a model of fairness and balance.

    Daryl Herbert (b65640)

  10. [...] Patterico) Not at all likely, but definitely funny: Murdoch on the prowl for print [...]

    Moe Lane » Murdoch rumored to be after the New York Times. (da2344)

  11. [...] Patterico) Not at all likely, but definitely funny: Murdoch on the prowl for print [...]

    Murdoch rumored to be after the New York Times. - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState (796605)

  12. I actually think that Murdoch would be a fool not be using his better judgment in buying the LA Times.

    The day of the daily is over and I grieve it’s loss, but times change and you move forward. Dead tree publication is on its last legs.

    Ag80 (3e2c59)

  13. Murdoch’s bets on print are about leveraging the news and editorial boards to create content.

    He got wacked on the Wall St Journal and has always lost money on the Post.

    Obama über alles!!!!! (da3d2f)

  14. … which is to say the NYT is a crown jewel in the media set and his controlling that is like near nirvana for a media whore like him.

    Obama über alles!!!!! (da3d2f)

  15. [...] Patterico) Not at all likely, but definitely funny: Murdoch on the prowl for print [...]

    Murdoch rumored to be after the New York Times. | Social Debate of our President's decisions (9408a5)

  16. [...] Patterico) Not at all likely, but definitely funny: Murdoch on the prowl for print [...]

    Murdoch rumored to be after the New York Times. | Social Debate of our President's decisions (9408a5)

  17. I can see it now…”fairness doctrine” for print media.what a concept.who knows maybe we can get some “conservatives” elected in LA.there are a couple of great candidates running for office in the city,one being walter Moore for mayor.as it is right now,there is now media coverage of him whatsoever.it’s as if villaraigosa is running in-opposed.if there was “fair” coverage,things could turn around in this city.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  18. “daydreaming about snarky responses to liberals upset about the L.A. Times’s conservative bias.”

    Liberals have been upset about LAT’s conservative bias for decades.

    Ever heard of the L.A. Weekly?

    Check with F.A.I.R, Media Matters, et al for plenty of examples.

    Does Pat really believe only conservatives call the paper of record in disgust, seeking to correct that record?

    It’s been a long time since I lived in the city, but no long before I left, the first Gulf War broke out and LAT reported on a protest at the Federal Building that drew hundreds.

    Trouble is, it was reported as a pro-war protest, which it was not. I know, as I was on the scene. There were indeed three screaming pro-war people across the street, but on the lawn of the Federal building were several hundred screaming protesters, waving the red, white and blue flag of…Croatia.

    They were there protesting Serb threats amid the ongoing disintegration of Yugoslavia. Nothing whatsoever to do with Gulf War I, for or against.

    I called the reporter. I believe it was Steve Edelman? After a wan attempt to suggest that maybe I was the one who’d got it wrong, he gave in to reality, and said: “Do you want us to print a correction.”

    I was stunned, of course, that it would occur to him that it would be possible not to. I was naive, of course, believing that much of what’s in the typical newspaper is true.

    I’m a softy, though, and I imagined him having to apologize to the managing editor and, maybe even, get pulled onto a lower beat. I told him to try to write something a little more worthwhile about the war instead.

    That’s but one of scores of stories of factual errors falling against liberals and in favor of conservatives. And there’s plenty of biased framing that cuts the same way.

    Anyone who’s not aware of that either isn’t looking, or can’t see.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  19. I can’t believe this at all. He might be into ‘leveraging content’, but how much ongoing ‘leveraging’ can you do when your content providers are losing money by the boatload ?

    ALL print media will die soon(along with their audiences) as was said earlier. Or at the very least they will be relegated to a very small niche market. The current generations don’t really read print, and the trends are clear to everyone. To buy dying assets when in the future these ‘assets’ will be worth NOTHING apart from their physical property valuations, is IMO, just perfectly clueless. Now Mr. Murdock is a very astute guy, but were he to do this, the writing would be on the wall for his entire operation.

    As for the proposed ‘pay-to-view’ models, if CD’s and DVD’s can be ‘cracked’ in the space of hours, how difficult would it be for information portals to be breached if 95% of the potential audience was adverse to paying? And if they were not cracked, how good could it be for society that 95% of the people were even more ignorant than they are now ? The Wall Street Journal is essentially a business forum with a veneer of ‘other’. It’s a special case. Although with the situation on the ‘Street’ being what it is, how ‘special’ it will be in the future is entirely another matter.

    The LA Times is a dead man walking, and frankly the BIG Eastern Papers are really not all that far behind. In a decade, more or less, they will be essentially gone.

    Dougf (537b0b)

  20. Consumers like to pretend they don’t need newspapers because, at the moment, the slow-footed paper “dinosaurs” are all heavily subsidizing tons of free news on the Web.

    When they go, the free content goes. And when the free content goes, anyone who wants to know their ear from a turnip will need to start paying for news.

    Take this wonderful blog right here. Without LAT, etc. Pat would have nothing to blog about. How many posts as he made in lo however long that don’t refer directly to a piece of real news he obtained gratis because a newspaper somewhere was willing to give it away.

    Granted, the blogosphere does talk to itself a lot, but it’s almost never capable of STARTING a conversation. For that, it relies on the real news media.

    The LA Times has attracted some of the most talented, capable journalists and ad salespeople in the region. That, not the size of its printing presses, defines the organization.

    Remember when TV was free?

    Who had cable?

    A few rich people and couch potatos. Everyone else was content to get by on the three networks.

    Over time, as the networks lost talent and the advertsing oligopoly broke down, cable made inroads to the point that now, who doesn’t have cable?

    No one seems to question these days that it cost north of $50 a month to watch TV, and, 10 years from now–less, maybe–no one will question that it costs more than that to read a newspaper.

    There will still be a winnowing and a lot of people who probably shouldn’t be in the business will find they can no longer be, which is of course a good thing.

    One of the most vulnerable genre is surely conservative commentary. There’s just so much of it around and, at the moment, it survives because it’s a necessary ingredient for every newspaper. But the syndication model is breaking down.

    When the local Web site is already paying for Will, Krauthammer, Kristol and Hayes, do they really need Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin too?

    Chances are they end up paying “one low fee” to choose one from each for all of them.

    The right better hope the corporate-funded think tank bucks keep rolling in, because the good-old fashion right-wing newspaper and magazine noise machine is headed straight for the boneyard.

    The same is true, essentially, for liberal commentary, though there’s less of a glut of it. Sure, there’s a massive glut of academics ready to spout, for free even, but not as many brand-name columnists as there are on the right.

    The winners will be creators of original, irreplaceable, non-commoditized news. The real stuff.

    Much destruction going on in the journalism biz indeed, but I’m guessing it’s, on the whole, creative.

    Hax Vobiscum (edacf7)

  21. Ah Hax: we hear from the man from the land of alternate reality again.

    Mike Myers (674050)

  22. Here in the UK I have watched Murdoch and the press since the 1960s. And I dealt with his people at the beginnings of satellite TV in the UK – Sky TV which is now replicated by DirecTV as well as satellite ventures in other continents. (Plus I have the odd distinction of having sued Keith Rupert Murdoch in parallel with a suit against Sky TV. Settled out of court in 3 days, thanks – a blatant copyright issue concerning his publishing as a 2-page ad in Variety of the entire concluding chapter of a report I wrote on UK satellite TV.)

    Do not assume that if he bought the LAT it would swing sharp right. His interest in the press is to make money. He tries to hire good editors and therefore good journalists and columnists – something LAT is sorely lacking, to judge by what I read when I visit LA each year. Mostly his press is fairly middle-of-the-road. Yes, Fox is well right – but that is because he saw the empty market niche.

    Plus – he likes being a power broker. His press tends to try to discern the public mood. He strongly backed Maggie Thatcher – but also saw the potency of the early Blair.

    I have 3 predictions :

    1 He will NOT buy the NYT. Why should he take on that debt-ridden wreck ? Instead, he will drive it into the ground as he positions the WSJ as a general rather than a purely financial newspaper. He has widened the news coverage there, added sports coverage, while retaining the core financial stuff. I predict that within the year he will assault the NYT head-on, with a massive circulation war. The cover price of the WSJ will be dropped temporarily to the point where the NYT will lose readers heavily. The NYT can’t stand much more financial trouble – Rupert has a big war chest, and he is single-minded and ruthless as hell.

    2 He WILL buy either the LAT or the Washington Post, if he can find the right price. Maybe even both. Because they remain key parts of the US print scene. There is no legal problem of “monopoly abuse” in those cities as might apply in New York, which effectively blocks any purchase of the NYT.

    3 He will cross-feed news coverage, commentary and promotion between the WSJ (possibly to be re-named the NY Journal ?), Fox and WaPo/and-or/LAT – plus all the stuff he gets from overseas news operations eg the London Times, Sky TV.

    Murdoch has always been a successful predator, with a gambler’s instinct. There is not much more he can do with DirecTV in terms of empire-building. He was always a print man, highly skilled at screwing cost reductions while maintaining quality and content. It could be the crowning glory, in his mind, to dominate the US press.

    (PS Patterico – keep up all the good work ! You might want to check out William Shawcross’s biography of young Rupert)

    JohninLondon (661c20)

  23. hax,the nuance of your piece was breathtaking.but as you pointed out,we are nothing but simpletons here.all you had to say was,right wing bloggers are nothing without left wing journalist’s.we need them to write a story,any story,so we can comment about it.

    and rush limbaugh needs Obama,like he needed Clinton to survive.it is liberal journalist’s that need conservatives to attack,without conservatives they have nothing to write about.case in point:bill maher,this sad piece of human excrement will be out of a job soon.his whole carreer was based on BDS.without bush,he is a nobody again.

    mr. falcone (eed2b3)

  24. JohninLondon lays it out nicely. Great, that’s what we really need, another even more monolithic company except this one controls what goes into people’s heads. NewsCorp is probably “too big to fail” by now too (the only compensation there is that it probably won’t as long as Murdoch is alive).

    Never liked monolithic news never will.

    If it does happen Patterico how will you fill the void when you don’t have the LA Times to kick around anymore?

    EdWood (8c572f)

  25. Well, there are always the Eddie’s of the world.

    AD - RtR/OS (cd7b06)

  26. Ed Wood

    How would a Murdoch-owned LAT be more “contolling what goes into people’s heads” than the present shower ?

    LAT always seems ultra-liberal to me – to the point of stupidity. Not very good columnists, poor news coverage.

    I’d relate the current LAT to the Guardian in the UK. Far left. If it did not have a de facto monopoly it would sell far fewer copies. Murdoch’s broadsheet in London is The Times – and Sunday Times. Good solid newspapers, fairly middle-ground, outselling the Guardian by a country mile. Good investigative stuff too.

    Why ? because they try to relate to the audience, rather than being a pulpit for bias.

    JohninLondon (661c20)

  27. JohninLondon – locals here in the US don’t realise that the Dirty Digger doesn’t try to control the politics of the papers he buys – he just wants ‘em to keep and gain market share …

    Hmmm – the Los Angeles Journal ? it does have a certain ring to it, I’ll admit … (grin) …

    In all fairness, the LATimes isn’t quite as typo-riddled as the Grauniad tends to be … or we would be calling the LATimes the ATSlime …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  28. Alasdair

    LAT would keep its name, I think, Wall Street Journal would widen its name to NY Journal.

    JohninLondon (661c20)

  29. I hope Murdoch turns the Post into a broadsheet paper & the Times into a tabloid.

    h0mi (d2c7b6)


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