Thursday, September 24, 2009

Americans Don't Want To Bail Out Newspapers

"Would you be willing to pay an extra $1 a year to fund quality investigative journalism"


Not at least until you precisely define what you mean by that, and even then, such IRS forms and other government handouts are subject to change without notice.

Suppose any of Murdoch's properties were in need of a bailout (mystery: why don't they?) and I'm sure you would agree there would be an outcry.

What is "fair" journalism? If there are extreme left-wing and right-wing positions on an issue should a paper take a centrist position to be "fair"?

To be fair a publication needs to present a variety of points of view (and not put some of them nudge-nudge back behind the local sports pages).

ABC News allowing George Will (hardly and arch conservative) to speak for 45 seconds on Sunday's This Week hardly qualifies as even coverage of all points of view. The company's only "libertarian" Stosel has escaped to Fox after having his stories regularly preempted or buried. Not that Fox is unbiased. There simply is no such thing. So, how to you pick who to bail out?

While there is some danger in public opinion being sling-shotted by a popularity contest between news organizations, there is equal danger in allowing some Washington bureaucrat to decide who gets the dollars and who doesn't.

For now, the anarchy of the Internet is serving us well. Something important may not get picked up by the popular online "media", but nothing can get buried completely, and if there is truth in it, hopefully "the truth will out."

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