Rupert Murdoch is simply a man who likes to fight. End of the psychological profile! He has big plans to fight the New York Times. He has big plans to fight Google. And he could win both.
John Koblin puts a number on the Wall Street Journal's recently announced plans to move into New York City metro coverage: $15 million. "You could drive a truck through the space between the wonderfully titillating tabloids and the perceived self-seriousness of The Times," says one PR man in the NYO. It's a big enough budget to help fill that gap. Although Rupert would prefer to just drive that truck directly over the Times.
And that's his smallest ongoing fight! Much bigger, in the grand scheme of things, is Rupert's willingness to be the media mogul who shouts out loud the thing that all the other media moguls grumble under their breath: Google is stealing from us! Why just yesterday, Rupert said:
"There are those who think they have a right to take our news content and use it for their own purposes without contributing a penny to its production. Some rewrite — at times without attribution — the news stories of expensive and distinguished journalists who invested days, weeks, or even months on their stories — all under the tattered veil of fair use."
He has (some of) a point! And even more remarkably, Google knows it. The Googleplex announced that they're going to (somewhat) close the technological loophole that allowed you to use Google News to jump over pay walls and read stories for free. Instead of being able to go to Google News, type in a headline from, say, the WSJ, and read as many stories as you want without subscribing, now Google "will allow publishers to limit non-subscribers to five free articles a day."
Rupert gets results. The New York Times is probably offering him a free Weekender subscription right now, to try to soften him up. But don't get it twisted: He's just begun to fight. He likes this stuff!