Jun
07
2013

Bob McChesney on Internet Giants and the National Security State

Last week on CounterSpin, we spoke with scholar and media historian Bob McChesney about his new book Digital Disconnect. His closing thoughts seems especially relevant in light of the blockbuster reporting this week from the Guardian and Washington Post.

Sep
10
2009

Newsweek Continues Wrestling With Aggregators

Under the charming headline "Eliminate the Parasites," Newsweek's Daniel Lyons (9/12/09) advances another brilliant scheme to save corporate media from the menace of Google. Lyons likes the idea put forward by billionaire Ayn Rand fan Mark Cuban: Cuban's advice: declare war on the "aggregator" Web sites that get a free ride on content. These aggregators–sites like Drudge Report, Newser and countless others–don't create much original material. They mostly just synopsize stuff from mainstream newspapers and magazines, and provide a link to the original…. He says the media companies should kill off these parasites by using a little piece of software […]

Sep
05
2009

NY Post Steals From, Refuses to Credit Bloggers

In looking at "all the angst over online appropriation of newspapers' work," Nieman Foundation blogger Zachary M. Seward (Nieman Journalism Lab, 9/4/09) thinks that "information actually flows in all directions, right?" As "blog posts inspire newspaper articles, newspapers lift from other newspapers, and radio stations do the rip-and-read," Seward writes that "when a blogger uncovered a major zoning violation in her Brooklyn neighborhood last month, it was only natural that the New York Post would pick up the story": But credit the blogger? That would be a violation of policy. The Post prohibits crediting blogs and other competitors for scoops, […]

Jul
17
2009

On Google, HuffPo and the Business of Conveying Information

I give Peter Osnos credit for not being as nutty as Richard Posner or as self-pitying as Dana Milbank; his piece from CJR on "Whatâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s a Fair Share In the Age of Google?" (7-8/09) is the most reasonable version I've seen of the news industry's case against the search engine company. Still, I can't help but think that he's missing the point in a fundamental way. One of Osnos' key examples of the unfairness of Google involves Sports Illustrated's website, SI.com, and a story it ran (2/7/09) on pitcher Alex Rodriguez testing positive for steroids. Osnos relates SI.com's grievance: Though […]

Jul
07
2009

Who Actually Clicks on Those Pesky Links Anyway?

Considering how, "in recent months, news aggregators like the Huffington Post have received heated criticism from some who believe theyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢re stealing valuable traffic and ad revenue from newspapers," with even "appeals court Judge Richard Posner recently wr[iting] a widely-linked post arguing that copyright law should be changed in order to bar linking to websites and paraphrasing their content," media blogger Simon Owens (Bloggasm.com, 7/6/09) has conducted an experiment to evaluate the premise of corporate media management "that news aggregators simply repackage news so thereâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s little incentive to click on the actual link": So how much traffic does a large news […]

May
19
2009

The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Search Engines

Corporate media's arguments against Google are getting stranger and stranger. While previously the Washington Post had accused the search engine of "vacuum[ing] up their content without paying a dime," now the Post has media lawyers Bruce Sanford and Bruce Brown (5/16/09) charging that search engines "crawl the Web and ingest everything in their path." Can anything be done to stop these terrifying monsters? Yes, the two Bruces say–you could change the law to require search engines to "obtain copyright permissions in order to copy and index websites." Given that the point of this would be to force search engines to […]

May
11
2009

Google, the Journalism-Killing Vacuum

We've written about this before, but today (5/11/09) the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz turned in another example of journalists who seem to believe Google is what's killing their industry.Responding totalks between his employer and Google about some sort of collaboration, Kurtz writes: Hanging over the talks is the reality that the search giant, while funneling vital traffic to news sites, vacuums up their content without paying a dime. I'm not sure what it is that Google is accused of "vacuuming." Kurtz is likely referring to Google News, which lets users search manymedia outlets at once. The main Google News page […]

May
07
2009

Dana Milbank Stamps His Foot at the Unfairness of Google

In a column attacking Google and other "accused newspaper industry killers," the Washington Post's Dana Milbank (5/7/09) doesn't present much of an argument for why newspapers are dying–but he provides an excellent example of why journalism like his deserves to die. [Marissa] Mayer, who oversees Google News, explained how "Google is doing its part" to preserve journalism–by keeping the lion's share of ad revenue before directing readers to newspaper sites. "Google News and Google search provide a valuable service to online newspapers specifically by sending interested readers to their sites," she said. Oh? Let's plug in "Senate Commerce Committee 'Future […]

Apr
15
2009

If Google Is Handing Out Free Money, Newspapers Would Like Some

Maureen Dowd today (New York Times, 4/15/09) writes about the newspaper industry's complaints about Google: Robert Thomson, the top editor of the Wall Street Journal, denounced websites like Google as "tapeworms." His boss, Rupert Murdoch, said that big newspapers do not have to let Google "steal our copyrights." The AP has threatened to take legal action against Google and others that use the work of news organizations without obtaining permission and sharing a "fair" portion of revenue. But what's fair will be hard to prove. First of all, Google is not stealing anyone's copyrights; quoting the headline and a small […]