WSJ vs. NYT: Murdoch Prepares to Launch "Titanic Battle"

The former editor of London’s Sunday Times, Andrew Neil, says News Corp’s Murdoch (NWS) plans to crush the New York Times, reports the Guardian. Neil thinks this challenge will be good for the Times, which he suggests is a “lazy monopoly”:

“The biggest newspaper battle of the early part of the 21st century is about to begin,” said Neil…”Murdoch has got his sights on the New York Times. He wants to gear the Journal up to take on the New York Times in what is now his home city. That’s what gets his juices going, that’s why he is bringing in all these resources from the far flung reaches of his empire to concentrate on New York…

New York Times editor Bill Keller begins his response in eyes-glaze-over corporate-speak, but then, finally, drops his talking points:

“Obviously I see him as a competitor. But we compete with the Wall Street Journal now. By the nature of what the [New York] Times is, a newspaper that is defined largely by the breath of its ambition … we attempt to be a full service newspaper. We compete with everybody. And we are pretty good at it…

“I don’t really know what he is going to do…I don’t know Rupert Murdoch, he is a combative 76-year-old newspaper guy with a tabloid soul and more money than God. With those resources at this stage it looks like he will do whatever the hell he wants to do. I don’t think he is going to be constrained by some strategic planning consultant telling him what he can do. That makes him very hard to predict.”

Meanwhile, it is the Financial Times that gets pasted with the true insult: Murdoch apparently regards it as “irrelevant.”

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