Rupert Murdoch Counters SF Protesters by Invoking Steve Jobs

News Corp. owners comes to San Francisco to speak about education.

By Sajid Farooq
|  Friday, Oct 14, 2011  |  Updated 12:55 PM PDT
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Protesters Greet Rupert Murdoch in San Francisco

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News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch pauses as he delivers a keynote address at the National Summit on Education Reform on Friday in San Francisco.

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Controversial media mogul Rupert Murdoch was in San Francisco Thursday to participate in Jeb Bush's forum on the future of education.

The Fox News headman's visit just blocks away from Occupy SF did not come without controversy and protest.

Activists, many of whom were teachers, stood outside the Palace Hotel in San Francisco Friday to protest Murdoch's appearance at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a non-profit organization run by the former governor of Florida.

A few even made their way inside the auditorium and did their best to interrupt his speech.

"Corporations own all the media in the world. Why should they not own all the education as well?" an activist, who was dressed as the Count from "Sesame Street" yelled. The man was removed from the room.

But Murdoch was unfazed, saying that he welcomed the protest.

"It's OK, a little controversy makes everything more interesting," he said

While the shouts were meant to get Murdoch's attention, the CEO of News Corp. caught the attention of those on the inside by invoking the ideas of Steve Jobs as a way to tackle America's public education problem.

Mother Jones reports that Murdoch said:

He was a Silicon Valley liberal who believed that monopolies like our public school system do not work – and therefore that parents deserved school vouchers for their children. He was a man who spent his life on technology, yet knew that the teacher was more important than the computer. He once explained our public school system this way:

“I remember seeing a bumper sticker when the telephone company was all one. I remember seeing a bumper sticker with the Bell Logo on it and it said ‘We don’t care. We don’t have to.’ And that's what a monopoly is. That's what IBM was in their day. And that's certainly what the public school system is. They don’t have to care.”

Well, we have to care. In this new century, good is not good enough. Our children are our destiny. We have wasted enough time. At stake now is the defining promise of the American Dream: the promise of upward mobility for each new generation.
Put simply we must approach education the way Steve Jobs approached every industry he touched. To be willing to blow up what doesn’t work or gets in the way. And to make our bet that if we can engage a child’s imagination, there’s no limit to what he or she can learn.

Murdoch described Jobs as his "good friend." The citing of a Bay Area icon was not enough to prevent protesters from interrupting his speech.

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