Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Via Alan Sullivan, I hear more bad news about the first subject I blogged this year: the metastasis of government "bailouts" to the newspapers. This time we're hearing it from two major markets.
First, we have David Scharfenberg of the Boston Globe asking for the government to subsidize the web presence of existing newspapers. Says Rick Moran of The American Thinker:
This would be a boon to liberal politics since the chances of any group getting this money investigating the Daschels, Geithners, or other Democrats are close to nil.All I can add to that is that I would not want any government -- especially one, now that I think of it, that paid lip-service to my political beliefs -- controlling the media. Doing so inherently violates individual rights, and is therefore contrary to the proper purpose of a government.
And just wait for the government to force everybody to take some of the money, as it did with the banks, and then tell them how to do business just as it has and plans to more of with the banks. (How the hell is capping executive pay supposed to encourage better performance? Oh, right. "Better"? For whom and by what standard?)
And then we have the parent company of two papers in Philadelphia (of all places!) begging the governor of Pennsylvania for a bailout. This one provoked one of the better reactions from a newspaper I have seen to this dangerous trend so far. It appears in the Wall Street Journal:
[N]ewspapers aren't the lifeblood of anything if they are merely an adjunct of the state. Independent journalism is valuable, but only if it is truly independent. A newspaper that is bankrolled by the state, even if it's only a loan, is going to have a strong interest in not criticizing the state. Perhaps this is one of Mr. Rendell's goals, since like all politicians he prefers a favorable press.The last thing we need is for the government to stifle what little good journalism there still is in the newspapers.
The business of journalism is changing, and many newspapers will vanish in the coming months and years. But that doesn't mean that journalism itself is vanishing. TV, radio and national newspapers have an audience in Philadelphia. Smaller papers like the Bulletin are also working hard to reach a larger audience in the city. Internet news operations have popped up in Minneapolis, San Diego and other places, often started by former reporters for the big-city dailies. The fastest way to kill a newspaper is to make it dependent on the politicians it is supposed to cover. [bold added]