Obama yesterday expressed concern at the sorry state of the news industry and said that he will look at a news paper bailout, because otherwise, blogs will take over the world, and that would be a threat to democracy, The Hill reports.
“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,” he said.
He said he would be happy to look a bills that could give tax newspapers tax-breaks if they were to restructure as 50 (c) (3) educational corporations. One of the bills is that of Senator Ben Cardin, who has introduced the “Newspaper Revitalization Act.”
This strikes us as the worst kind of protect the horse and buggy policy imaginable. Newspapers have been printing money for 100+ years, and if the market is now putting an end to that, stifling this change probably isn’t a good idea. Back in May we came up with 10 one-line reasons this kind of bailout is a terrible idea. Briefly, they were:
- It’s bad to reward outdated businesses based on outdated tech.
- Newspapers delivery trucks don’t run on water.
- Traditionally bloated monopolies, newspapers don’t know how to innovate.
- Just because newspapers go away doesn’t mean sources will.
- Newspapers employ just 0.2 per cent of the nation’s labour force.
- 66% of people get their news from TV.
- Newspaper owners think Google is a parasite.
- Ask people when they last bought a paper, much less subscribed.
- A government subsidized “free press” isn’t a “free press” at all.
- As newspapers go away, a shrinking supply of ad inventory will drive up ad prices, rewarding innovative new media.