Murdoch flatters Huffington Post


(LEON NEAL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Oh ... I think everybody’s doing it for money, including the bloggers. They’re trying to sell advertising, they’re trying to get a bigger audience. You get a thing like the Huffington Post, which started as pretty much a political pamphlet with advertising and broadened itself quite cleverly, but mainly just stealing stories from existing newspapers. They now have a few reporters, and blogs from individual people, but it’s a very big thing here, they have a British edition as well as an American edition. And I don’t believe that they’re making a profit yet, but they’re read by many millions of people.

So where’s the belittlement here? Let’s break down Murdoch’s endorsement of the Huffington Post:

1) Statement: “started as pretty much a political pamphlet with advertising and broadened itself quite cleverly.”

Verdict: Unmitigated compliment.

2) Statement: “mainly just stealing stories from existing newspapers.”

Verdict: Neutral. Granted that this sounds a bit derisive. But consider Murdoch’s DOB: March 11, 1931. He became a newspaper executive in the 1950s, back before he’d even been called a “moth-eaten kangaroo,” let alone grappled with the worlds of linking and aggregation.

3) Statement: “They now have a few reporters...”

Verdict: That assessment technically understates the number of reporters at the Huffington Post, which has in excess of 40 such people. Which is, to a guy like Murdoch, “a few,” max. Try the News Corp. Annual Report: The guy presides over 51,000 employees. It’s all relative with a mogul like him.

Ruling: No belittlement whatsoever.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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