Lest anyone doubt the thrust of Rupert Murdoch’s speech on Thursday (or was it Friday? I’m losing track of time zones) at the World Media Summit in Beijing, it was all about paying for news — as in: You’re going to pay for news, and if you think it shouldn’t cost you anything, you’re a “flat-earther” and a “kleptomaniac.”
For those of you accustomed to the News Corp CEO’s occasional verbal ramblings and hints of ghosts of suggestions, this was a departure. He has gone on the record in great detail about his thoughts regarding paid news, but this is the first time that I recall him using fightin’ words like “flat-earther.”
Murdoch also “urged the Chinese government to take full advantage of the country’s creative potential by opening the door to media competition and ensuring that intellectual property is protected,” according to the speech and the press release, but let’s be clear — the message that resonated was: “You’re going to pay for news as long as we need to pay people to report it.”
Here’s the Reuters take, “leding” on China.
The New York Times’s David Carr throws in some similar comments from the head of The Associated Press, and says that it and News Corp are “cocking the gun” on free news. Pungent!
And here is the AP’s take on its own story.
Finally, here’s the speech itself. There’s plenty to digest.
(Reuters Photo: Rupert Murdoch on the left, China’s president Hu Jintao on the right. Behind them is David Schlesinger, who runs Reuters News)