In the end, a war on Google is a much more appealing spin on the
newspapers’ current position than “we haven’t figured out how to make
money online in a decade of trying”. They’ll blame Google, they’ll
blame the shadowy cabal of infomation-must-be-free proponents,
they’d probably blame the wrong kind of tubes if they could, but, in
the end, the only blame lies in their own failure to innovate and
respond to a massively changing information ecology until they find
themselves standing on the very brink of the precipice,
Now, it’s possible that some really great thinking is going on within
the portals of Murdoch’s company. I will be astonished if some clever
play does not underlie this carefully-constructed phony war. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that Murdoch’s focus is more on getting a march on some of his competitors by persuading them that Google is the enemy and paywalls are the answer, while he’ll actually end up doing something else.
But I’m not buying this phony war. Are you?