And if we don’t know that the stuff was actually any good, different, or interesting, how do we know that the reasons for its failure were purely technical?

After all, what newspaper that Murdoch owns is that great, anyway? News Of the World? The Sunday Tasmanian? For that matter, what’s the greatest scoop in Fox News history? There may be one, but that’s not what it’s known for. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t count because it was already pretty good before he owned it.

The point is, if you think the editorial mix, the content, has nothing to do with the success or failure of a publication, then I would say that’s a strange position for any journalist to take.

And if you think that it has something to do with success or failure, then we should acknowledge that we really don’t know whether that was a big reason why The Daily failed. I bet most of us suspect that it was.

And if it was, then we should admit it’s too soon to tell whether the format was to blame or just what the format delivered.

The syllogism that The Daily failed; the Daily was tablet journalism; therefore all tablet journalism will fail is a logical fallacy.

It doesn’t mean it’s not true. It just means that a Murdoch newspaper should hardly be the last word.


Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.