Obnoxious Newspaper Bailout Begins

Senator Kerry isn’t cutting Arthur Sulzburger a fat check or anything so obvious, but make no mistake: the newspaper bailout is on.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire today approved a 40% tax cut for that state’s newspaper printers and publishers.

The Seattle Times buried the news in a tiny, seven-line item on its local news page. It’s not prudent to gloat, afterall.

The Washington law follows a hearing held by Senator Kerry on the “Future Of Journalism” and the President’s remarks during the annual White House correspondent’s dinner that “a government without newspapers, a government without a tough and vibrant media of all sorts is not an option for the United States of America.”

Newspapers have been printing money for 100+ years, and if the market is now putting an end to that, such is life.  Monday we came up with 9 one-line reason 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  • It’s bad to reward outdated businesses based on outdated tech.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.

Here’s a new one, for good measure:

  • As newspapers go away, a shrinking supply of ad inventory will drive up ad prices, rewarding innovative new media.

Like SAI!

(Speaking of which…  Where’s our bailout?)

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