Friday, March 27, 2009

There’s no Pravda in Izvestia

A United States senator has introduced a bill that would bail out the nation’s newspaper industry, which has fallen on unprecedentedly hard times. It’s an idea that makes sense: given the symbiotic nature of the media and the current administration (and the permanent bureaucracy), nationalizing the newspapers is the perfect way to ensure that they do not lose their status as the monopoly mouthpiece for the leftist intelligentsia.

Here’s how it will work: instead of a “bailout”, the papers will be converted to non-profit tax-exempt entities. They’ll be like print versions of NPR — and we all know how fair and balanced NPR is.

The only restriction is that they no longer will be able to endorse specific political candidates. That shouldn’t slow them down much — after all, has anyone ever doubted which party NPR supports in any given election?

“Wait a minute, Baron,” you say, “they’ll just be tax-exempt — that doesn’t mean the government will be paying for them.”

Ah, yes, that’s what they’d like you to believe. But remember: once they become non-profits, they’ll be eligible for… government grants!

And do you think the feds will actually turn Pinch Sulzberger down when he comes to them, cap in hand?

Anyway, here’s the story, according to Reuters:

U.S. Bill Seeks to Rescue Faltering Newspapers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

“This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat,” said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs. [emphasis added]

I’ll bet the journalists are interested. This will make them quasi-wards of the state. They can keep on doing what they always have done before, only this time as a part of the Quango Cloud. What more could anyone ask for?

The article continues:
- - - - - - - - -
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.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.

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.

In other words: newspapers are so unprofitable they might as well be government enterprises!

They’re too small to fail!

Once this deal goes down, they’ll be losing money at Amtrak levels.


“We are losing our newspaper industry,” Cardin said. “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.

It’s a tragedy that newspapers are doing such a poor job of conveying information that no one wants to read them anymore. It’s tragic that the lumpenproletariat are too stupid to buy into the journalists’ view of current events.

The newspaperman as tragic hero: “To be or not to be, or maybe to land a subsidy — that is the question.”


In recent months, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News, the Baltimore Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle have ceased daily publication or announced that they may have to stop publishing.

In December the Tribune Company, which owns a number of newspapers including The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times filed for bankruptcy protection.

Now, to me, this is good news. Let the scythe of the market cut down the decayed behemoths of the legacy media. People don’t read them, so why should the taxpayer support them?

Because the government knows what’s good for you, that’s why.

Our daily papers will become just like Pravda and Izvestia were back in Soviet days, only less interesting.

In addition to Terry Gross, Adam Hochberg, Renee Montagne, Cokie Roberts, Garrison Keillor, et al., our taxes will help support Maureen Dowd, Sally Quinn, and Richard Cohen.

And not just the writers: consider this little gem of a “political” cartoon by Pat Oliphant from The New York Times. It’s worthy of Al-Quds Al-Arabi:

Olipant NYT

If Senator Cardin has his way, the above work of art will represent Your Tax Dollars at Work.

Hat tip: Fausta.


Papa Whiskey said...

The demise of the Rocky Mountain News was not good news to me, as that paper was one of only three major ones in the nation to have had the journalistic integrity to run any of the Danish Muhammad cartoons when the vicious Muslim reaction to them was headline news. (The others were the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Austin American-Statesman.)

PatriotUSA said...

Should this happen it will just serve as the official MULLAH OBAMAHAM NEWS. Business as usual. The newspaper industry and those papers that are folding, need to fold. Just like with car companies
they deserve no bailouts. Yes, it will be hard in the short term if we let large corporations go out of business. That is how it has worked in the USA, and while not perfect, it has been overall a good system. The MSM has been taken over by the left and is corrupt as the current administration. No surprises with this move and more can be expected.
People in this country thought the Bush administration was power hungry and consolidated power. Bush was nothing compared to what the commiecrats have done already. The long term damages being caused by the left will cripple us for years to come. In the meantime our enemies are laughing, making and planning moves. Obama and his ilk are getting their butts kicked around the globe by third world countries, still stuck
in the stoneage. It will be a very
long and traumatic four years.

Afonso Henriques said...

Bye, bye
Miss American Pie...

what a great song!

And the three man I admire most,
The Father the Son
And the Holly Ghost,
They got the last train AWAY FROM the cost,
The day, the mUSic died.


Meanwhile if you want to post something less depressing from the muslim world, just check out the Queen of Jordania.
She is also a great looking Palestinian.

Afonso Henriques said...

" (A study made by UCLA) found NPR to be more liberal than the average U.S. voter of the time of the study and more conservative than the average U.S. Democrat of the time."

What does this mean?

Anonymous said...

No innovation there. That's just the French way of doing things.

davidhamilton said...

The title of the post reminds us that Pravda means Truth and Izvestia means News. An old Russian joke has it that there's no news in the Truth and no truth in the News!

Baron Bodissey said...

dchamil --

That was exactly the reference in my title. It was meant for those who are familiar with the old Russian epigram.

I guess I should have explained it...

Afonso Henriques said...

The epigram would be UCCN, replacing "Republics" with "Nations" I am not sure but I believe it is "Natyons" or something in Russian. I am not sure however.

Then it would be something like the Union of the Socialist Soviet Nations.
Socialist Soviet Nations... what a paradox for a Nationalist, what a logical conclusion for a Communist.

. said...

For once I agree with you Baron, this is a STUPID idea.

I would point out that, as non-profits, they wouldn't have to pay any taxes. If they're not making any money that wouldn't mean much to the federal government, but if they are non-profits then most likely their local property would be tax exempt too, meaning that you and I would have to pay local taxes to make up the difference, or suffer less police on the streets, courts in session, etc.

Dymphna said...

Mr. Green--

It's painful to see venerable, respected institutions fold. But they can't escape the curve of history any more than the mendacious ones can.

There was a time, before newspaper reporters became "credentialized" graduates of J-schools, that newpaper reporting was a blue collar job. Not that it was manual work, but that repporters scrambled for stories and did a lot of other work in the newspaper room besides write copy.

You started off as a gofer and you rose slowly thru the ranks. Unfortunately, the hubris of present-day "journalists" has led to the decline and fall of the newspaper.

Not the only cause, but certainly a proximate one, was the sleazy cooperation among Woodward, Bernstein and Deep-Throat, all of whom worked to bring down a sitting president. W&B, because they were greedy for the fame and glory, DT because of an old resentment he wanted to satisfy.

The wall separating journalism and government collapsed in the last 40 years or so of the 20th century. When that wall came down, so did journalism's integrity and honor.

It isn't the fault of papers like the Rocky Mountain News -- it was due solely to the BoWash corridor papers: the Globe, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

Add to them the slimy bureaucrats who sell secrets or "leak" them for fun or profit, and you come to where we are now.

We still need newspapers but they will become exceedingly local...I've watched tiny local monthlies start up in our area in the last two years. They are grabbed up and read by everyone precisely because they are LOCAL.

What will happen to the news aggregators like AP, Reuters, etc., remains to be seen. Internet and TV news still need their services, but the lock they have on the news gate is broken beyond repair.

It will be interesting to see what happpens to blogs, or to Drudge if they have to pay a fee to the AP and Al-Reuters of the world to gain permission to use their items...

...things are going to change, but the sleaze factor can only increase. Thank you Woodward and Bernstein. May you join Duranty in the 5th circle of Hell.

laine said...

What public good is served by using tax monies to sustain newspapers people are not interested in reading?

None. The Left is just putting its voluntary propagandists on the payroll.

Anonymous said...

This is all quite transparent.

There's a nice piece on the subject here:

A Leninist View of the American Media -- By David G. Muller, Jr.


Unknown said...

On the decline of newspapers:

blog post subhead large