Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: I see today the Boston Globe is being run just like public transit. The Boston Globe supposedly lost $85 million, and they are going to raise the price of the paper to a dollar-and-a-half. Did I see that right? Now, this indicates and proves to me that the people running this paper, which is the New York Times, do not understand the market. Why are they having trouble? Advertising revenues are down. Why are advertising revenues down in the newspaper industry? Fewer people are reading newspapers.

The newspaper industry is telling itself that its biggest problem is the Internet, and they do have a point in the sense that so much news — and I’ve got a concept for you to consider — so much news is on the Internet for nothing, and a lot of it’s unedited. And a lot of it you don’t have to put up with Drive-By bias or prejudice or what have you. You can get it when you want to. You don’t have to wait for the thing to be delivered in the morning if it’s on time. And a lot of the newspapers, of course, put their own editions on the web, and they started out doing this free, and they establish the concept that the news is free. And I want you to think about this. The Associated Press, they are very upset, there are a lot of websites that are stealing their content. The way websites make money is hits. Websites try to design their pages so that they’ll get as many hits, and they tell their advertisers, ‘This is how many hits we got,’ and they charge advertising rates per hit. And in some cases, one of the ways of engendering hits is to strike a deal with Google, to put your website near the top of any Google search. It’s a very intricate and complicated thing to pull off, but it can be done.

In fact, there was a TIME Magazine story, New York Times, too, recently really just raking the Huffington Post over the coals ’cause apparently the Huffington Post is actually stealing content, not headlines. You know, headlines are considered fair use. But they’re actually stealing content and putting a byline of their own website employee on news copy that’s actually written by reporters at other newspapers and not crediting the newspapers. So the AP and the newspapers say, ‘Wait, this has gotta stop.’ Now, that I understand, that I totally understand. Fair usage is fair usage. The pilfering produced product is quite another. But the overall concept, what is news? And how in the world do you charge for it? I mean go look out your window. A car goes by. It doesn’t hit anybody. You’ve just seen news. Did it cost you anything? To me the concept is that there can be no charge for news. The news is just what is. The news is the comings and goings of people, good people, bad people, pirates, evil people, whatever, it’s the comings and goings of people. It’s the actions of people. The whole notion that there somehow is a pecking order for who gets to define what it is and on that basis gets to charge for it, that’s the business model.

So you get the New York Times, and according to them every day, this is the news and you’re willing to pay whatever you pay to get their version of the news, and the same thing with any other news outlet. But if there were no newspaper, would you have to pay to see the news? You might have to travel to all these different places to see the news, but the news is happening. The news is not created. The news is the result of human beings living and breathing and moving around, making decisions. So the whole concept of charging for it — now, I understand if you’ve got a newspaper and they’ve got reporters and they’re assigned to stories, they go out and put in a lot of time writing the story, they put it on the newspaper website, and some website comes along and steals it as their own, that’s a different thing. That’s a different thing.

But the whole concept of fair usage in news — maybe I’m not accurately describing this as I see it, but I think it’s a very difficult thing to charge for. We get into the whole discussion, okay, yeah, there was news, there’s news right now, there’s news yesterday, there’s news that’s going to happen in five minutes. But to some people it’s only news ’til it’s in a certain newspaper or on a certain network. But we all know that that’s BS. News is news. It happens. If you witness a crime when you’re at the mall, how much did it cost you? It happened. You were there. You saw it. You saw news. Didn’t cost you anything to be there, unless you were spending money for some other reason, like to go to the mall to buy whatever people buy at malls, nail polish, cologne, a Segway. (laughing)

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