- Kentucky city called socialist for buying gas station, undercutting competitor fuel prices
- Israel hits five mosques, sports complex in overnight Gaza strikes
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters’ questions on book tour
- EPA tweet baffles: ‘I’m now a C-List celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ iPhone game
- Australian P.M. Abbott: MH17 evidence tampered with on ‘industrial scale’
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez tells Hispanics to vote and ‘punish those’ who oppose amnesty
- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
News industry needs a bailout?
Question of the Day
Some wonder whether the news media could use a federal buyout, just like Wall Street and auto manufacturers.
The Tribune Company, which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Sun in Baltimore and 10 other papers, plus 23 TV stations, filed for bankruptcy Monday, owing $13 billion to international creditors.
"Factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm - a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy coupled with a credit crisis," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Samuel Zell.
That perfect storm is raining on everybody.
The New York Times Co. also announced Monday it would borrow $225 million against its Manhattan headquarters building to stay afloat. E.W. Scripps Co. put the Rocky Mountain News up for sale Sunday; the McClatchy Co. did the same with the Miami Herald. NBC is laying off 500 employees, Viacom 850.
The current total number of layoffs in American newspapers alone has topped 15,000 this year, according to Paper Cuts, an online site that tracks the bad news.
Columnists and industry analysts alike now suggest a federal bailout.
Some of it started out as pure satire - like the $100 million "Newspaper Rescue Act" envisioned by Business Week writer Jon Fine last month. Yet news last week that state Democratic legislators in Connecticut proposed a state bailout of two local newspapers alarmed conservative columnists like Michelle Malkin, who cautioned against a press "beholden to the ruling class."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan wrote his own waggish take on a bailout, noting, "We want to be next," saying President-elect Barack Obama "owes us."
Dozens of readers took him seriously.
"I can't imagine a free press propped up by the federal government. But there were not many people who had sympathy for the press, telling me 'you people deserve it,' or 'you made your bed, liberal media,'" Mr. McClellan said. "Journalists are a lot less popular than auto workers."
In an essay published in the New Republic Monday, Mark Pinsky suggested resurrecting the old Federal Writers Program, which employed 6,000 out-of-work Depression-era scribes.
"I'm an old 'New Lefty,' but I think direct intervention won't work regarding the media. Too complicated, too much a result of cultural changes rather than economic turndown," Mr. Pinsky said Monday.
"A federal bailout would be difficult in principle and process. It's not like we're making cars or cashing checks here," said Robert Steele, a journalism ethicist with the Poynter Institute.
"A financial infusion from the government could raise questions about press independence and credibility. It might also lead to a movement to regulate journalism that would restrict free flow of information and 'cripple the watchdog.' There are just too many questions," he said.
About the Author
- Inside the Beltway: White House fundraising — never a dull moment
- Poll: 81 percent of U.S. voters believe Russia 'involved' in downed Malaysian airliner
- Inside the Beltway: Putin popularity soars in Russia
- Netanyahu will take whatever action necessary for 'sustainable quiet' in Gaza
- The Republican parade begins: Eight GOP heavyweights head to Iowa
Latest Blog Entries
- A startling 20 percent of Democratic lawmakers already endorse Hillary Clinton for president
- Hey food police: calling obesity a 'disease' is actually a health risk
- Cheese and an 'enhanced experience': White House goes showbiz on the State of the Union address
- Cruz calls it a 'circus': the State of the Union spectacle begins
- Half of American fans say God and 'supernatural' forces are in play during sports events
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- Humanists seek support from Congress on military chaplains
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Big milestone for Britain's little prince
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq