Oh dear. As of this writing, Monday morning, Facebook stock has fallen below its IPO price, and it can't seem to get up. That means the pile-on that began on Friday will only intensify today. Do a quick scan of the news and you'll see the worst possible spin, including headlines that use the phrases "FACEBOOK SHARES PLUMMET" (The Wall Street Journal), "FACEBOOK STOCK DIVES" (SlashGear) and "FACEBOOK SHARES CRASH" (Investment Week).
But some of the harshest coverage came over the weekend -- specifically early Saturday , when Rupert Murdoch's New York Post devoted its inky cover to calling Facebook investors "ZUCKERS!" (in giant type worthy of a declaration of war) and chose to personally vilify Mark Zuckerberg with its subtitle: "Facebook boss soaks Main St. for $20B in IPO." Inside, the tabloid's Garett Sloane and Mark DeCambre reported that Facebook only managed to save face (sort of ) on Friday thanks to the "banks working on the massive IPO, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, [doing] their duty by buying up large blocks of Facebook stock toward the end of the day to support the price.... Without the bank bailout, Facebook's IPO would have been a loser on the day, Wall Street insiders said." Or, as Sloane and DeCambre put it, "It was another Wall Street bailout -- but this time the banks had to cough up the cash."
This must be a schadenfreude moment for Rupert Murdoch, who was famously hailed as a genius back in 2005 for snatching up MySpace for what then looked like a bargain, $580 million, only to sell it for scrap last year for roughly $35 million. In other words, watch for the New York Post -- and the entire range of Murdoch's News Corp. news operations -- to continue to bash Facebook and treat Mark Zuckerberg like a chew toy.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.