Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feds Seek To Bail Out Faltering Newspapers

by j. wright~

From the Washington, June 7, 2010: "The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking ways to 'reinvent' journalism, and that's a cause for concern. According to a May 24 draft proposal, the agency thinks government should be at the center of a media overhaul. The bureaucracy sees it as a problem that the Internet has introduced a wealth of information options to consumers, forcing media companies to adapt and experiment to meet changing market needs. FTC's policy staff fears this new reality.

"There are reasons for concern that experimentation may not produce a robust and sustainable business model for commercial journalism," the report states. With no faith that the market will work things out for the better, government thinks it must come to the rescue.

Former President Ronad W. Reagan might say, “There they go again.” This government is again attempting to dally in the business of micro-managing private businesses. They can barely govern and yet they see fit to inject themselves into places where the public sector can and does function more efficiently. This latest proposal is about attempting to salvage struggling newspint publications (referred by some to as “dead tree” media) that, in the eyes of the bureaucrats and politicians, “are too big to fail.” Based on recent results, such actions always come at a price with political strings attached (remember GM, Chrysler and the major banks?). How could any newsprint company perform objectively after receiving public taxpayer dollars and NOT seem to be under the thumb of the government? Not that many aren’t biased already.

Again, the camel sneaks it’s nose under the proverbial tent. Allow government an inch, you know the rest. The Times adds: “Fostering a robust public-policy debate, not saving a particular business model, should be the goal of journalism in the first place.”