Clash of the Media Titans

Ding ding! That bell you hear is the end of Round One between billionaire media moguls Rupert Murdoch and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who have been sparring with each other over control of the Italian airwaves for months, and in this round, Murdoch has emerged the winner.

Today, an Italian judge ruled that Berlusconi’s Mediaset television company was being anti-competitive by not letting News Corp.’s pay-television service, Sky Italia, buy ad space on Mediaset channels. It’s more of a technical decision than a KO, since the judge can’t force Mediaset to take the ads, but News Corp has smugly declared that it is satisfied with ruling.

Meanwhile, Berlusconi has a defamation suit pending against the News Corp.-owned Times of London, (among several other European newspapers) for its scrutiny of his relationship with an 18-year-old model, Noemi Letizia.

Usually it’s not pretty when septuagenarians fight, but it’s difficult not to watch this back-and-forth feud unfold without a bit of glee. Looking forward to Round Two.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.