Obama Appointee Suggests Radical Plan for Newspaper Bailout
Rosa Brooks, who has moved from the L.A. Times to the Pentagon, called for more "direct government support for public media" and government licensing of the news, which critics say would destroy the independent media.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks has hung up her journalistic hat and joined the Obama administration, but not before penning a public proposal calling for some radical ideas to help bail out the failing news industry.
Brooks, who has taken up a post as an adviser at the Pentagon, advocated upping "direct government support for public media" and creating licenses to govern news operations.
"Years of foolish policies have left us with a choice: We can bail out journalism, using tax dollars and granting licenses in ways that encourage robust and independent reporting and commentary, or we can watch, wringing our hands, as more and more top journalists are laid off," she wrote in her parting column on April 9.
Brooks said this would help rescue the industry from a "death spiral" and left the government unaccountable to the journalists who must keep it honest. "[I] can't imagine anything more dangerous than a society in which the news industry has more or less collapsed," she wrote.
But critics say her proposal would spell an end to the independent media and make journalists reliant lapdogs.
"The day that the government gets involved in the news media you see the end of the democratic process, because an independent news media is absolutely essential to the success of a democracy," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group.
Bozell said licensing journalists would violate American traditions and was a form of "intellectual prostitution."
"Since when did our Founding Fathers envision that ... you could exercise your right to freedom of speech provided you had a license from the federal government? This is the kind of stuff you have revolutions about," he told FOXNews.com.