Update at bottom: Murdoch defends Beck, claims Obama 'made a very racist comment'
Rupert Murdoch was hailed as an old-media pioneer when he bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005. While the new media social networking site has fallen behind its peers, its still made back more than the purchase price for Murdoch's News Corporation empire.
Now Rupert Murdoch has a new approach to the Web: Screw you.
In an interview with Australian television, the cantankerous chairman of News Corporation -- which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post -- said that he was considering blocking Google searches of his content.
Asked why the company hadn't chosen to remove its news stories from Google's index after creating a pay-for-content operation (the Journal charges for some articles), Murdoch explained, "I think we will, but that's when we start charging," he said. "We have it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but it's not right to the ceiling. You can get, usually, the first paragraph from any story - but if you're not a paying subscriber to WSJ.com all you get is a paragraph and a subscription form."
"There's a doctrine called fair use, which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether," he added. "But we'll take that slowly."
The company has routinely lambasted Google News for "stealing" content, by allowing excerpts of articles on its pages and including a link to the story.
"The people who simply just pick up everything and run with it – steal our stories, we say they steal our stories - they just take them," the 78-year-old Australian said. "That's Google, that's Microsoft, that's Ask.com, a whole lot of people ... they shouldn't have had it free all the time, and I think we've been asleep."
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Murdoch defends Beck, claims Obama 'made a very racist comment
"Murdoch defended Glenn Beck's accusation that the president was a racist in his long interview with Sky News Australia," Business Insider's Jay Yarow notes.
As Yarow notes, Murdoch's comments on Beck and Obama occur at approximately 18 minutes into the interview.
"On the racist thing, that caused a (unintelligible--grilling?). But he (Obama) did make a very racist comment. Ahhh..about, you know, blacks and whites and so on, which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And um, that was something which perhaps shouldn't have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right."
RAW STORY was unable to determine exactly what Obama said on July 22 that Murdoch might consider racist, but a transcript of the president's remarks can be accessed at the White House website.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Recently Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in America?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I should say at the outset that "Skip" Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts. What's been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house, there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place -- so far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into -- well, I guess this is my house now so -- (laughter) -- it probably wouldn't happen. But let's say my old house in Chicago -- (laughter) -- here I'd get shot. (Laughter.)
But so far, so good. They're reporting -- the police are doing what they should. There's a call, they go investigate what happens. My understanding is at that point Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in, I'm sure there's some exchange of words, but my understanding is, is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house. And at that point, he gets arrested for disorderly conduct -- charges which are later dropped.
Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact.
As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in this society. That doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made.
And yet the fact of the matter is, is that this still haunts us. And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently and oftentime for no cause casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that's why I think the more that we're working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we're eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody is going to be.
All right, thank you, everybody.
Beck said on Fox and Friends after the Gates comments, "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don't know what it is."
As the AP reported in July, "Beck's statement was challenged on the air by Fox host Brian Kilmeade, who noted that most of the people who work for the nation's first black president are white."
The AP also noted that "Bill Shine, Fox News senior vice president of programming, told the TVNewser Web site that Beck had 'expressed a personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel. And as with all commentators in the cable news arena, he is given the freedom to express his opinions.'"
However, it appears now that senior vice president of programming for Fox News isn't quite so familiar with his boss's overall feelings on the subject, and may have perhaps spoken too soon.