Cakeism elsewhere

We are suffering a mass outbreak of cakeism. This is, as the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has noted, that desire to both have one’s cake and eat it, too. This is human, greedy, and also logically impossible in some cases. Sadly, the entire journalistic profession is engaged in a frenzy of cakeism.

It began in Australia, where the government is attempting to force Google and Facebook to pay newspaper owners for the inclusion of reporting in their search engines and news feeds. Many journalists paint this as just, righteous, or a last-ditch defense of democracy. That it’s ludicrous doesn’t seem to have struck anyone yet.

What’s actually going to happen is that we’ll all see that Facebook and Google are important to news publishers. News publishers are not important to either company. So, if payment is forced by legal insistence, then we’ll see exactly what Facebook is doing right now: No news on Facebook.

This is driving my professional colleagues in journalism into paroxysms of rage, of course. A certain ego is required to do what we do, and no ego likes to have it proven to the world that we’re just not that important, however true it is.

14 thoughts on “Cakeism elsewhere”

  1. Thank goodness someone’s said it.

    If what’s in the papers is so important to people, they’ll go out and buy the papers, won’t they.

    Let’s wait and see whether they do.

    Popcorn please!

  2. “So, if payment is forced by legal insistence,” then they are completely within their rights to stop doing whatever it was that meant they were required to pay.

    You can’t force someone to pay for something then complain that they no longer wish to avail themselves of your stuff.

    Unless you are the BBC of course.

    And your comment facility is playing up again Tim. 🙁

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    its crazier than it appears.

    Why “final offer arbitration” is Russian Roulette for Google

    The legislated “bargaining” process between Google and News Corp is unmoored from reality. Its “final offer arbitration” is unsuited to the task.

    In the debate over the federal government’s news media bargaining code, a rather strange thing has happened: the actual news media “bargaining” has been mostly ignored.

    That’s a pity. Because the new law employs an interesting and unusual mechanism for resolving disputes: final offer arbitration.

    And final offer arbitration looks thoroughly, disastrously, 100 per cent ill-suited to this situation. It essentially refuses to state any principle for setting a price on links to news sites, and then asks Google to guess at what a government-appointed arbitrator might say.

    In other words, it asks Google to play Russian Roulette. No wonder the company is cutting deals.

    tl;dr version.

    Each party makes a bid of what they think a link is worth and then a government appointed arbitrator decided on the value. This works well if there’s an extant market to give some clues as to a market value but in this case nobody has a Scooby.

    Google/Faceache would be mad to even play by setting a $0 bid because that would concede the point that there is some inherent value, even if they think is $0 now.

  4. JK277,

    “Caveat emptor: the media may find that Facebook users prefer it without the news…”

    News is mostly noise, anti-boredom, a means to continue with procrastination, whatever. They can claim that it’s an essential part of democracy etc, but if you somehow didn’t hear about people digging themselves into tunnels to stop HS2, would it have any impact on your life? Almost no news is essential. And there’s now a mass of anti-boredom out there: sudoku games, your friends photos from a trip, one of those videos of car crashes on ice, funny cats, pornography. If the Australian news gets wiped out, you just get a video of someone trying to win a Darwin award.

  5. Balam said:
    “ I can’t work out what Microsoft is up to: unless their market share is so small (and they expect it to stay that way) that it’s not going to cost them anything”

    Or their market share is so small that it will damage their competitors much more than it will them.

  6. What amuses me, the dead tree press has such a sense of entitlement they are completely missing the trick of participating in whatever will replace Farcebook & Google. It will happen. Their virtual monopolies of their sectors of the market isn’t set in stone. The Dead Trees are in the information business. They have sources of capital. Theyjust need to get up of their collective arses & compete

  7. There’s nothing really new about the government supporting some businesses by compelling other businesses to subsidize it. Tesla springs to mind, having for years sold millions and millions of dollars worth of electric vehicle tax credits to other car makers compelled to purchase them. What’s refreshing is to see a company fight back.

    You’d have to assume that the Aussie government would expect something back from the media in return for this revenue redistribution. Never ending laudatory coverage might do.

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