#1 Say No to Newspaper Bailouts by Michelle Malkin
12-03-2008, 09:30 AM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
"Just The Thought Of This Will Sure Make You Hurl ! Roll over and Die You Lying Slime Bags "
A press beholden to the ruling class -- a press that cannot stand on its own two feet and the strength of its product -- is a press better off dead.
"A Liberal/Progressive State owned NewsPaper what a novel Idea,What a heap !"
How "free" can a "free press" be if it is leveraged with government funding? How free would they be to criticize other corporate enterprises seeking local, state or federal help to keep them afloat in hard times? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
It was supposed to be a joke. As an endless parade of corporate beggars marches to Washington in search of handouts for their beleaguered industries, some of us in the news business snarked that journalists would be next in line. I launched a Newspaper Bailout Countdown Clock on my blog after The New York Times Company's bonds plunged into junk territory in October. A few weeks later, columnist Jon Fine published a tongue-in-cheek memo in BusinessWeek outlining a federal newspaper rescue proposal.
The jibes were meant to be facetious critiques of for-profit enterprises demanding massive taxpayer expenditures under the guise of preserving the "public interest." But now, in a rather unfunny turn, the newspaper bailout push has actually come to pass.
The Republican governor and the Democratic attorney general of Connecticut went on the record last week in support of government intervention for failing local newspapers. God save us from bipartisanship. Their joint statements pushing a salvage program came in response to news that The New Britain Herald, The Bristol Press and 11 weekly papers across the state face closure. About 100 jobs are at stake. This is bad news, no question. But cause for apocalyptic talk and expansive meddling by politicians? Please.
"This is the worst financial turmoil I have ever seen, not only in our state but in our nation," Gov. M. Jodi Rell lamented as she expressed her support for some sort of government/media salvation plan. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asserted: "The newspaper is an information lifeline. It provides really an essential service." Among the "essential services" Blumenthal thinks taxpayers should prop up: marriage notices and school sports announcements.
These items are easily and effectively disseminated online. Connecticut consumers who are passing up the newspapers that offer these products obviously don't agree with Blumenthal that it's "essential" to get them in dead-tree form. But Rell seems to believe that quaintness is an argument for government funding: "There's something about having that paper and being able to sit there with your cup of coffee or your tea and read through and find out not only the news but the real feel for a community."
Local lemonade stands give you a "real feel for a community," too. Should Johnny and Susie get handouts for keeping it real? Should we resurrect Woolworth with some of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's bottomless bailout billions while we're at it? Why not bring back town criers with public subsidies, as well?
Unperturbed, seven Democratic state legislators stepped up further pressure by sending a letter to Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development seeking help for the dying newspapers. With straight faces, they wrote: "As elected officials, ourselves, we want [the] public to have access to independent news about what is going on in government and our communities. We share the sentiments of our nation's leaders who wrote the Bill of Rights that a free press is an essential part of democracy."
12-03-2008, 10:47 AM
This really is insane.
Big papers are floundering and small papers are failing because they no longer provide a useful service to most people. "Communities" are more in touch with themselves than they have ever been in history via the Internet. There is just not much use in waiting a week or a month to learn who won the local gardening competition when anybody can look that up in a second.
You want sports scores? Check the school website. Marriage announcements? Most couples don't even do that anymore. Local government news? Read the minutes of the council meeting online.
Propping up a paper with government funding is like hiring a pedophile to be your kid's babysitter.
12-03-2008, 02:27 PM
If the newspapers can't find a way to stay competitive, let them fail. They are not all that essential in the age of the internet.
I used to love reading big city papers-like the Detroit Free Press or Chicago Tribune, when I was in college. They were well-written, they investigated stories about corruption and issues that affected everyday people, and were thicker than they are now.
The federal government intervened in the Detroit Newspapers by approving a joint-operating agreement (under Ed Meese, a long time ago). I'm not sure it did all that much good for either paper. I was reading the Freep during the Kwame scandal, because they beat the tv news to it by actually doing a long-term investigation. Everyone was reading it at that point, the scandal settled down, and now no one is reading it anymore-at least not until the NHL and NBA playoffs start.
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