It's good to know that at least one print media executive isn't going down without a fight.

New York Times (NYSE:NYT) executive editor Bill Keller spoke at Stanford yesterday and let it rip on his company's news-serving rivals.

According to, his shots included calling CNN's set a "a parody of a Daily Show parody" and wondering if Newsweek will have to change its name now that the weekly magazine is emphasizing features over breaking news.

He even took a few shots at General Motors (NYSE:GM), suggesting that readers have offered donations to keep the company's namesake paper alive. It's something that Keller doesn't see happening at GM.

However, the editor saved his biggest zinger for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and its efforts to become a one-stop hub for content aggregation with its Google News site.

"If you're inclined to trust Google as your source for news, Google yourself," he said.

It's not a fair shot, of course. As a news aggregator site, Google simply links to the online articles written by reputable news sites.

And taking Keller up on his challenge, I decided to punch in "Bill Keller" into a Google search query to see what vile misinformation I would find. The third link down was to Keller's official bio on, complete with an invitation to discuss Keller's columns in an online forum.

Google may be a threat to New York Times, but it isn't necessarily an enemy.   

Google isn't the reason why every major newspaper company, save for Washington Post (NYSE:WPO), is trading in the single digits these days. Google is not the reason why print media companies haven't been able to monetize their sites as effectively as they once cashed in with their offline circulation.

So, who can we blame? The Internet delivers news -- imperfect news, at times -- in a cheaper, quicker, and more effective manner. It is also way more interactive. Online advertising is priced according to what local leads are worth to sponsors, and it's immediately accountable, so maybe it's indicative of how old-school advertisers have been overpaying for their exposure. 

Keller is wrong for shooting the messenger. However, just the fact that someone from the print media realm is taking aim in the first place is encouraging. Even if the words are deep-fried in irony because we are reading the jabs online, at least they are being said.

Other signs of the Times:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't mind getting ink on his hands when he reads the morning paper, but he is starting to wonder why it's yesterday's news. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.