Monday, September 21, 2009

Newspaper Bailout: Could Someone Please Tell Obama We Are Broke?

From The Hill:

The president said he is "happy to look at" bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.

"I haven't seen detailed proposals yet, but I'll be happy to look at them," Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called "Newspaper Revitalization Act," that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin's Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).

Aside from the fact that a newspaper bailout would make newspapers beholden to government, what I find particularly galling about such a bailout, is that the free market has already spoken against newspapers. People do not value newspapers anymore. The current woes of the newspaper industry is not due to the current economic down turn, rather it is the Internet and the newspapers own biases that has played a key role in their demise.

The newspapers are unable to combat the Internet’s one-two punch of speed and free content. The only saving grace newspapers could have would be to provide unique content. Unfortunately it is the newspapers' own biases that are destroying its one hope. Since so many of the newspaper’s editorials seem to share the same rehashed opinions, more people turn to the blogosphere (both left and right) for fresher opinions.

So the question becomes, why should taxpayers be forced into further debt to pay for something the vast majority of them don’t want or find value in?

Obama had some pretty naïve opinions on the matter too. From the Toledo Blade:

"Journalistic integrity, you know, fact-based reporting, serious investigative reporting, how to retain those ethics in all these different new media and how to make sure that it's paid for, is really a challenge," Mr. Obama said. "But it's something that I think is absolutely critical to the health of our democracy."

Talk about a real knee slapper. Just last week the fringe media was hyperventilating over the whole Joe Wilson nonsense, while two aspiring journalist on the Internet were exposing the scope of corruption from the criminal enterprise known as ACORN. Yet, Obama thinks the fringe media is worth a bailout? The fringe media was wasting their time on political theater, while the aspiring Internet journalists were exposing corruption that could save Americans up to $8.5 billion dollars. To make matters worse, exposing ACORN only cost about three grand. The New York Times spends 100 times that amount in a day and the Times was wasting its week trying to paint Joe Wilson as a racist.

Obama went on to say:

"What I hope is that people start understanding if you're getting your newspaper over the Internet, that's not free and there's got to be a way to find a business model that supports that."

OK fine, let the newspapers find a new business model, but let them do it on their own dime. The nation is deeply in debt and there is no good reason for us to saddle our children with more debt just to pay for something most of us no longer want.


Via: Memeorandum

Via: The Hill

Via: The Toledo Blade


LL said...

The newspaper "bail-out" is effectively a newspaper buy-out. The executive branch of government wants to muzzle any potential dissenting voices. Most of the mainstream media (with the noteworthy exception of the Fox Network) caved in completely. Investigative journalism is dead - and what's left of it is undertaken by a couple of twenty-year old kids who are certainly due the Pulitzer this year (but may not have the political backing to get it).

It's about being broke, yes.

It's also about the FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. What sort of a country is it when the press sells out (literally) to the government? Who could trust such a newspaper?

Anonymous said...

Let's bring back Provda while we're at it. This will turn our media into a government run media, not that they're not lapdogs enough already. No matter how they try to spin it, it's because of their lapdogging and their vile bias that nobody reads their rags. The only reason to for government financially bailing them out so they can smear those that oppose them. In fact, I tried lining my bird's cage with their worthless vile rags and the bird broke out of its cage and pooped on me instead.

Reaganite Republican said...

And if you thought his control of GM's product planning was heavy-handed... and that the press couldn't be any more biased... just wait!

He may even see this as his last chance to restore his image... once the FCC shuts down Rush, too

Angie Lee said...

You know what they say: Look but don't touch.

As for what the free market is willing to support and what the taxpayer is desirous of spending its money on, since when has that stopped Congress? We overwhelmingly told them we didn't want the bank bailout last year (which seems to have been spent on everything BUT "toxic assets" from the mortgage "crisis"), the GM/Chrysler bailout, the stimulus bill, cap and trade, and health "insurance" reform... but they press forward anyhow.

The old media can support a new media venture simply by restricting access and requiring a subscription to their content, something a lot of them already do: They throw a teaser line out and if the reader wants the rest, they have to become a subscriber.

Now how hard is that, implementing a procedure already in place? DUH.

The inherent stupidity emanating out of Washington DC is the bane of our existence.

Nate Olish said...

Does anyone else see this as a calculated political move to establish a nation wide propaganda machine? Perhaps I'm being a bit cynical and kooky, but Clifton is right. I get all of my news from the internet; the only real reason I go to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is to read about my Cardinals.

Fruitcake Sandy said...

HELP !?!?! I'm about ready to 'jump ship' (only problem with that, the waters are shark infested!!) What will be next? Government owned TOILET PAPER. Excellent post with great insight,Clifton.

The news papers are antiquated ... the "fringe" media has been replaced by talk radio, Fox News and the Internet. I've written all my representatives and senators in Congress (of two states) with my concerns. What more can I do?

LandShark 5150 said...

GREAT POST, he has to keep the wheels of the machine greased. Today the FCC will take control of the cyberspace, tomorrow us. The problem he is to intellectually incompetent to understand that those who line up behind him, will continue to scream "me next" ending in either, no more other people's money or revolution. The tax break in Switzerland (the MaObama model of Utopia) is givng those breaks, a Reaganist move to promote economic growth, to make more "rich" people to take from. Keep up the Great work. sharky

jodetoad said...

This idea will bring another big chunk of people over to our side. Disgust at the media is almost universal.

I'm worried also about the bill giving the president the power to shut down the internet. Without it, us conservatives could not communicate effectively.

Jess said...

I don't think Obama cares how a newspaper finds its way to the stand, as long as his picture is on the front page. The details of publishing, integrity and accuracy are beyond his comprehension.

Anonymous said...

Now he wants us to PAY for the propaganda the media shovels at us?

JMK said...

Bottom-line there ARE newspapers that make money - the Wall Street Jnl is doing GREAT, the NY Times and the WaPo, not so well.

The NY Post, does well, the Pittsbugh Courrier and the Atlanta Jnl Constitution not very well...

There's no NEED for a bailout....the industry is fine, just a few losers have to be shaken out...OR they could try changing their tone to a more conservative one, those seem to do better now-a-days.

Moreover, a "non-profit" news industry CANNOT remain independent of the government it will depend on.

OK, it isn't all that independent now, but such an arrangement defeats the idea of a free and adversarial press.

NO ONE should EVER support (buy) a single issue of a "non-profit"/government-funded rag!

Good news for Fox, News Corps and Clear Channel, they're not looking for a bailout.

The Conservative Lady said...

Clifton, this is a great post. This will make them "officially" the state-run media, but they've been worthy of that name for a long time.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

I thought the New York Times was Pravda!

One Ticked Chick said...

Nonprofits have to find funding to carry out their operations. Who in their right mind would fund these newspapers? If the Feds send some money their way it won't be enough to support all of the liberal papers that are going under. Additionally, I wonder if the acceptance of federal funding raises Constitutional issues regarding their First Amendment protections.

Clifton B said...


The implications of government having a hand in the press is bright red dangerous! Sadly our media had capitulated voluntarily. This move to bail out newspapers is to round up the last bigs of decent. Next move will be the Internet, it Fox and talk radio are the only bits of decent left.

I know focusing on the spending aspect misses a big point, but all this spending when we are broke is making my head explode.

Clifton B said...


I tried lining my bird's cage with their worthless vile rags and the bird broke out of its cage and pooped on me instead.

Laugh of the day!

Clifton B said...

Reaganite Republican:

The Internet and talk radio have big bullseye signs on them. They are two of the biggest bastions of decent left.

Clifton B said...

Angie Lee:

Well said! It is this wanton disregard for our desires that is fueling their destruction. Lucky for us they don't see it coming.

Clifton B said...

Fruitcake Sandy:

I've written all my representatives and senators in Congress (of two states) with my concerns. What more can I do?

Round up like minded friends and neighbors, put on your most comfortable shoes and protest, protest, protest!

Obama told his minions to get in their faces! Well it is time we do the same.

Clifton B said...


You are correct there is a limit to the number or people who you can add to the dole. We are reaching a breaking point and that is why people holler!

Thanks for the kind words.

Clifton B said...


I'm worried also about the bill giving the president the power to shut down the internet. Without it, us conservatives could not communicate effectively.

You have legitimate reasons to be concerned. Have you seen all this stuff the administration is pushing about Net Neutrality? Google it and find the administration statements scary.

Clifton B said...


I think a newspaper bailout would spell the end of whatever creditability the papers have left. No matter what side of the aisle you are one, no one trust a government run or controlled press.

Clifton B said...


Oh the veneer would be off if they get a bailout. No one will believe a word they say.

Clifton B said...

The Vegas Art Guy:

The Times takes turns being Pravda and Tass!

Clifton B said...

One Ticked Chick:

I too wonder about the constitutionality of such a bailout. However, does anyone in Washington?

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