Note: After re-reading this, I realize that I was reacting to the media execs as though they were primarily newspaper folk. They are not, of course. So a lot of what follows may be relevant, but not all of it to this particular story. I could delete this post and pretend none of this ever happened, but that’s not the blog way (I keep my failures on display), and there are a few points (those that aren’t crossed out) that still stand.

Danny Sanchez passes along this, in his post Media executives rip into Google:

A panel of leading media executives took a combative tone against search engines during a panel discussion at the 56th annual National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Reuters reports.

“The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation,” Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Richard Parsons said.

“They will lose this war if they go to war,” Parsons added, “The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion.”

There is so much stupidity in this, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, a little personal background. I’m no young, wide-eyed technophile. One of the strongest memories from my youth is the smell of ink and hot lead. I worked as a reporter and editor for more than 25 years, all of it in print. Add up the working phase and the teaching phase and it comes in somewhere around 35 years. That’s the context.

Back to the stupidity.

1. If media execs think that search engines are anywhere near their biggest problem, they are either willfully blind to what’s happening or in deep denial.

2. I can’t find the post where I read this, but I seem to recall seeing that Google search delivers something in the neighbourhood of 25 per cent of hits to newspaper web sites.

3. I no longer read the print editions of my local newspapers, but neither do I read Google News or any other aggregator. I do use Google News as part of my search for information/news that I’m interested in. Yesterday, in the process of researching a four- or five-graf post, I visited half-a-dozen newspaper sites, all of them through Google.

4. Yes, media companies hold copyright on their articles. But they do not hold copyright on the information those articles contain. I don’t always (maybe even often) need newspapers to get that information.

5. It is inconceivable that executives with major media companies refuse to believe that the landscape has shifted and that business hasn’t been as usual for at least half a decade and it won’t be again. Ever.

There’s probably more that hasn’t come to mind about this. But the last thing I have for the moment seems to be the Time Warner spokesman’s rather weak grasp on history. The Sioux Nation!? Yeah, they got Custer, but look what happened afterwards: a century of disgraceful treatment, more massacres and the degradation of entire nations. I’m not sure that’s the analogy he had in mind.

TAGS: ,