President says preserving “mutual understanding” is critical to democracy
Monday, Sept 21, 2009
President Obama has stated that he is happy to consider bailing out the corporate media, expressing concerns that alternative internet based news outlets will grow in popularity as a result of the downfall of newspapers.
Obama told editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade that preserving the print media is “critical to the health of our democracy”.
“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,” Obama said.
He also indicated that readers should be made to pay for online news content in the near future:
“What I hope is that people start understanding if you’re getting your newspaper over the Internet, that’s not free and there’s got to be a way to find a business model that supports that.” he said.
Over the past year, scores of newspapers have gone out of business or shifted to online only output, due to the rise of the alternative media and the resulting loss of ad revenue. Several large newspaper corporations have filed for bankruptcy, including the Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
Obama said he “would be happy to look at” legislation aimed at providing newspapers tax-breaks if they were to restructure as 50 (c) (3) educational corporations. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin has introduced a bill in this vain titled “The Newspaper Revitalization Act.”
Critics may point out that, far from being “critical” to democracy, a bailed out government subsidized media is the very antithesis of a “free press”.
Government Banking and Government Motors would effectively be joined by the Government Press if bailouts were to be granted.
Bailing out the corporate media would once again constitute rewarding outdated and failing monopolies with more taxpayer dollars, thus punishing innovative forward thinking competition.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no basis for bailing out the newspapers, given that they employ less than one percent of the labor force in the United States.
The dinosaur corporate media is dying because it has proven itself to be almost wholly untrustworthy, acting as an unquestioning mouthpiece for the establishment.
Denouncing all blog based media as unreliable or without context is laughable in the face of the mainstream media’s recent track record.
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