Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Coming Bailout For Newspapers

Seriously. I want this whole notion to become as simply laughable as it is. But it looks like what may happen in Connecticut may not stay in Connecticut:

Connecticut lawmaker Frank Nicastro sees saving the local newspaper as his duty. But others think he and his colleagues are setting a worrisome precedent for government involvement in the U.S. press.Nicastro represents Connecticut's 79th assembly district, which includes Bristol, a city of about 61,000 people outside Hartford, the state capital. Its paper, The Bristol Press, may fold within days, along with The Herald in nearby New Britain.

That is because publisher Journal Register, in danger of being crushed under hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, says it cannot afford to keep them open anymore.

If you click on the link in my first sentence, you will be treated to the following headline: "Government aid could save U.S. newspapers, spark debate."

Spark debate? Debate? Debate? Debate on what? On having the the very thing that the press was supposed to help keep in check become its primary underwriter? You'd thing a Congressman--you know, someone who has actually . . . oh I don't know READ the constitution once or twice would know this. But in a tumultuous time where jobs are evaporating as quickly as our nation's proclivity for self-defence, it's not surprising:

Nicastro and fellow legislators want the papers to survive, and petitioned the state government to do something about it. "The media is a vitally important part of America," he said, particularly local papers that cover news ignored by big papers and television and radio stations.

To some experts, that sounds like a bailout, a word that resurfaced this year after the U.S. government agreed to give hundreds of billions of dollars to the automobile and financial sectors.

Relying on government help raises ethical questions for the press, whose traditional role has been to operate free from government influence as it tries to hold politicians accountable to the people who elected them. Even some publishers desperate for help are wary of this route.

Remember, we must rely on "some experts" to arrive at the conclusion that this is a bailout. And AP writer Marc MacMillan's contention that violating the very breath of an independent media's existence struggles in a tepid arena of "ethical questions" is simply ludicrous.

This, all on the heels of recent reports that the economic downturn has shoved the New York Times closer to the precipice of actually doing the world a favor and imploding on itself. How in the world any lawmaker, who's spent the last seven years watching the Old Gray Lady turn over our national defence strategies to the Jihadists can keep a straight face while these erstwhile counterculture unibombers start clamoring for their jobs in a country they've sought to marginalize and render naked before its enemies . . . well I just don't know. I for one, believe that newspapers that can't "evolve" should just go ahead and die.


No comments: