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NY Times provides the wrong definition of “competition” in editorial about Murdoch acquisition. They are about to be educated. 8/2/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Murdoch, NY Times, Wall Street Journal.

In a puzzling editorial today headlined “Notes About Competition,” the NY Times editorial board bemoans Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as an event that will somehow reduce competition. They mourn the loss of the old WSJ, which they claim was a “responsible and challenging competitor,” then pine for the good old days when “formerly formidable competitors” like the Los Angeles Times had larger staffs and fuller national and foreign coverage.

Perhaps you might consider the old WSJ and LA Times to be the NY Times’ “competitors” if you lived within the bubble inhabited by newspaper-owning families like the NY Times’ Sulzbergers, the LA Times’ Chandlers, and the WSJ’s Bancrofts. Perhaps they see the newspaper business as a jolly-good sport in which each strives to achieve their personal bests in their game of choice.

But in the real world, competition means only one thing — winning over customers and maximizing profits at the expense of others in head-to-head competition — same geographic market, same audience, equivalent product. Maybe that’s why the NY Times has not seemed to notice, for instance, that Rupert Murdoch has already been winning in competition against the NY Times, with Murdoch’s NY Post now with a NYC-area circulation of 725K compared to just 5-600K for the Times. But at this late stage, as Murdoch prepares to steer the ship of the WSJ onto a collision course with the NY Times, the editorial board might be better-off grabbing a life-raft rather than a dictionary.


1. Adam - 8/2/07

I must confess that I found the imagery in the last sentence to be irrationally pleasing.

2. Steve Boriss - 8/2/07

Adam, You’re not alone — we all like watching trainwrecks. As this one will be in slow motion, it seemed to make sense to stage it on water. As they say, whatever floats your boat 🙂

3. Jim Johnson - 8/3/07

“There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers.”
-Phillip Franklin, White Star Line Vice-President

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