On December 1, Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., which owns Fox News, spoke at a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) workshop titled “From Town Criers to Bloggers: How will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?” Glenn Beck has previously used his Fox News program to tie that workshop to the organization Free Press, which Beck termed “the most important Marxist group, possibly in the world, but definitely in America,” and to the potential elimination of the freedom of speech.
Murdoch delivered remarks at FTC workshop
Murdoch joins Huffington, Chopra, others in speaking on future of journalism. On November 16, the FTC released an agenda of its workshop, which listed Murdoch as scheduled to deliver remarks on December 1 at 9:45 a.m. Murdoch gave his speech as planned. FTC's press release on the agenda stated:
Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for news and information. Advertisers are moving ads to online sites and scaling back on ad buys as a result of the recession, and news organizations are struggling with large debts that were acquired during better times. As a result, some are questioning how journalism will evolve in the future.
The workshop will consider a wide range of issues, including: the economics of journalism in print and online; the wide variety of new business and non-profit models for journalism online; factors relevant to the new economic realities for news organizations, such as behavioral and other targeted online advertising, online news aggregators, and bloggers; and the ways in which the costs of journalism could be reduced without reducing quality.
The diverse group of participants who will discuss these issues at the workshop include Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, and Aneesh Chopra, Assistant to the President, Associate Director and Chief Technology Officer for the Office of Science and Technology of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Other panelists include representatives from E.W. Scripps Co., The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Yahoo!, Google, the National Newspaper Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, Hearst Television, National Public Radio, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Associated Press, ThomsonReuters, Propublica, Blogher.com, NorthwestCitizen.com, the Knight Foundation, the University of Chicago, the Association of National Advertisers, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Media Access Project.
Beck linked workshop to “Marxist” organization, conspiracy to eliminate freedom of speech
Beck weaves web of conspiracy among FTC workshop, FCC's Lloyd, net neutrality, “Marxist” Free Press, and suggests free speech at risk. During his Fox News program, Beck began his discussion by stating:
BECK: What right in the Bill of Rights matters to you most? Pick one. If I said you've got to pick one, which one would you choose? I would think the first or the second. Probably the first, because if you don't have freedom of speech, if we cannot speak freely to each other, we lose the essence of who we are. Remember that. [Glenn Beck, 10/7/09]
Beck then aired Federal Communications Commission official Mark Lloyd's 2005 comment that “unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem. We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power,” which Beck said “sounds positively un-American.” Beck then highlighted net neutrality and the FTC workshop, telling his audience, “Remember those two stories here” :
BECK: Yesterday, we had two stories that seemed like no big deal if you didn't know what was behind them. The first story was about the government getting into Internet regulation. Remember, protect you from the shady Internet blogger trying to scam you into buying the perfect pancake maker. Oh, the government is here just trying to help you. Remember that?
Also, the other story was the FTC -- not the FCC, but the FTC -- they're just getting together for a little lunch, you know, a conference in December, the 1st and 2nd of December. They just want to talk about how they can help journalists do their job.
Oh, I'd like to have a little speech there, too. They want to know, should there be extra funding for journalists? Should there be tax credits for certain news organizations?
Rupert, gravy train is about to come, I'm sure. Should the government be more involved? OK. Remember those two stories here. [Glenn Beck, 10/7/09]
Beck went on to attack Free Press founder Robert McChesney, whom Beck called “yet another far-left radical who hates capitalism.” He later called Free Press a “Marxist group, the most important Marxist group, possibly in the world, but definitely in America.” Beck concluded: “If you embrace these people, or if you sit down and work with these people, you might as well just go out and purchase your own blindfold and cigarette for the firing squad, because I don't see the difference here.”
Murdoch sits on honorary board of governors of organization Beck previously linked to Maoist activities
During his October 19 Fox News show, Beck ranted that, because of the overlap in the message of volunteerism from President Obama's “Corporation for National and Community Service and a call for more service and volunteerism” on network television from the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), "[i]t's almost like we're living in Mao's China right now" and noted that NBC executive Mitch Metcalf is an “EIF board member,” exclaiming, "[M]y God, it can't be." But Murdoch sits on EIF's “honorary board of governors,” and Fox Broadcasting Co. -- which airs Fox News programming and, like Fox News, is owned by News Corp. -- is also participating in EIF's volunteer initiative, and has a vice president who sit on EIF's board of directors with Metcalf.