Government to Try to Rescue Newspapers

In a speech a few months back, President Barack Obama stated that government was the only entity that had the resources to fix the economy.  His faith is not in the private sector. 

Reuters reports that the government will have to do something to help the newspaper industry in America.  According to Henry Waxman, the collection of information is a public service and not a private enterprise.  He said that good journalism is necessary to American democracy. 

The problem is that newpapers in America, by and large, do not engage in good journalism.  They engage in biased journalism.  And they are paying the price for it in newpaper sales. 

The Reuters article says that because people are getting their news from online sources and the advertising revenue is shifting from conventional news sources to online news sources, the government may need to step in and change regulations to allow these entities to survive.  What isn’t said in the article is that the reason advertising revenue is falling is because people aren’t reading newspapers.  It wasn’t that long ago that people read newspapers and magazines as well as getting news online.  But, since newspapers aren’t reporting news, but instead editorializing, people are choosing other news outlets.  Network TV news is seeing similar declines in viewership, with most people getting TV news from cable outlets. 

Newspaper organizations are limited by regulation to how many outlets they can own in a given market.  This is a government mandate.  The government is trying to prevent a monopoly in a given market with this regulation by preventing, say, the New York Times from owning more than one TV station in a market. This has led to where we are today.  The NYT, once the most respected newspaper in the world, is having a hard time staying afloat, partly because of their product, partly because of government interference in the free market. 

Here’s the bottom line:  if the NYT or Washington Post turns out a product no one wants to buy, the free market speaks and they go out of business.  If the government interferes (again) in this process, you now have state-owned media that no one wants to buy.  The NYT and WP are already unofficially state media outlets. 

It appears that the regulations regarding the number of outlets allowed in a market may be relaxed to help newspaper outlets survive.  The government is going to un-regulate to help a business.  What a novel idea.  I wonder if this concept would work in, say, the auto industry? 

This is the equivalent of a neighbor setting your house on fire then claiming to be a hero because he called 911.  Government interference is what caused part of their problem in the first place, now they are riding in on a white horse to save the day.

I believe, though, that the obvious bias in these outlets is what is really the problem.  There was a time in America where news organizations reported the news and we decided what we thought for ourselves.  Walter Cronkite was a huge leftist, but, for the most part in his career, he reported the news and kept his opinions out of it.  It’s the product that needs work, folks.  If you provide a product people want, you can sell it. 

The government has a stake in the survival of the NYT and other newspapers.  The mainstream media has been the lead advertiser for liberals trying to get elected to office for years, and is probably most directly responisble for President Obama’s election.  First, the destruction of any Republican candidate that could acutally win, then the destruction of  Sarah Palin once the finalists had been decided, and lastly, the lack of diligence in reporting on Obama himself. 

Maybe we should let the free market decide who stays and who goes, instead of the government.  I’m pretty sure that our president thinks only the government has the resources to decide for us what we read, see, and hear in the media.  They have a name for that.



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