For the past six months, the Federal government has been sinking trillions of dollars to try and keep failing banks and car companies afloat. And now a Maryland senator, Benjamin Cardin (D), is proposing legislation to help keep dying newspaper companies afloat.
His idea is a simple one, pass a law which would allow newspaper companies hermorging money to be allowed to run as a non-profit. Mighty nice of the federalies, isn't it? He claims that his purposes are benign, intent of saving an industry that has run its course. "We are losing our newspaper industry," said Cardin. "The economy has caused an immediate problem, but the business model for newspapers, based on circulation and advertising revenue, is broken, and that is a real tragedy for communities across the nation and for our democracy."
Now of course, he claims that this is done for small community papers, though one can't help but notice that the New York Times (as well as other periodicals of note) are hemerging ad revenue and have been struggling to keep afloat. The internet, with it's cheaper operation costs, and 24 hour news channels, due to their immediacy and personalities, have all but rendered it dead; a casualty of our ever changing society.
Now, a few times on this web site I have made some loose allegations that some of the moves by this government have an air of Stalin's Soviet Union or Hitler's Germany, but this time I am not joking. Newspapers are not going away because of some unfair disadvantage in the market. They are going away because it is their time to go away. They have gone on for as long as they could, but their time has come... just as when newspapers came along, the town crier was told to shut the fuck up. More and more websites (much like this one) are popping up all over the web, and there are like six cable channels that devote themselves to the nonstop reporting of the news. And the thing is that these sources can report the news when it happens... not a day later.
Newspapers have had their time in the sun, their chance to run things. The market is Darwinian, and only allows for the strongest to survive and thrive. For the Government to stick their fingers in this mess (as they have in the respective messes of the auto industry, the mortgage industry, and the banking industry) is not only the most pronounced sign of a changing of the guard in American government (one where the central power controls the means of production) but should be terrifying to the American people.
Should the Government bailout the American press, it would compromise one of the American people's more precious rights... one to a free press, able to say the truth about what their Government is doing. Should the Press be under the influence, let alone control, of the Federal Government, it would limit the American people's right to a free and uncensored press. It is bad enough that the written press is already as biased as it is (there is little argument among the American people that journalists have a left of center stance), but to have it completely spewing out the talking points of the Government... The very people the Press is supposed to keep in check. For the American people to lose the one way that they have of making sure that their Government is not trying to enslave them is not only unconstitutional but morally reprehensible.