March 24, 2009

A Step Towards State-Run Media in the US?

Carroll Andrew Morse

This is a tad frightening...

With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, [Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin] on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks...

Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

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Yeah, I appreciate the effort 'cause we need a healthy press. But somehow this is not a comfortable idea.

Plus ultimately, how does it help newspapers? Having to pay taxes on profits is not a problem for them because most of them are not making any. Cardin actually points that out as a selling point!

Because newspaper profits have been falling in recent years, "no substantial loss of federal revenue" was expected under the legislation, Cardin's office said in a statement.
Posted by: Monique at March 25, 2009 7:02 AM

Won't matter. As was pointed out in a blog essay linked by Instapundit, we're in the middle of a revolution as big as Gutenberg's movable type. Nobody knows when, where and how it ends.

Actually, the proposal if implemented will increase the speed of the revolution by making newspapers even more irrelevant, like the big 3 telenews - NBCCBSABC.

The free press was meant to be another check on the power of government over the citizens. Any press that takes this bait is no longer a free press as understood by the Founders.

Posted by: chuckR at March 25, 2009 3:29 PM

Tell me how two local East Greenwich papers survive when they now have to compete with this: ?

Posted by: Jake at March 25, 2009 8:15 PM

As much as I love newspapers, I don't want to see them bailed out. Their problems are just as self-inflicted by the business side of their operations as those of banks and major financial institutions.

Posted by: rhody at March 25, 2009 9:23 PM

Rhody-I see you would rather newspapers be published by purists devoid of that nasty business stuff,right?
So here's an idea-just go to Toys'r Us and get yourself a nice block printing set and then when your journal is complete,sell copies for $.05 in front of the supermarket.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 27, 2009 3:31 AM

Joe, we've crossed that bridge a long time ago.
I don't want to hear another corporate press baron cry about the Internet spoiling the business, for their attempts to keep up 30-35 percent profit margins (which any other American business would die for) led to their degrading the product to the point where readers and advertisers alike got tired of paying the freight.
It's not about the Web, or politics. It's about a business that stopped giving people (on both ends) what they pay for.

Posted by: rhody at March 27, 2009 5:15 PM
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