Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Bailout For Newspapers Too?

Recently, citing the disappearance and downsizing of some newspapers, I posed this FEATURED QUESTION about journalism. Now it seems that U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin has introduced a bailout bill for certain newspapers.

From this article at Reuters (hat tip to MR of Infidel Bloggers Alliance):
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.


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.

Cardin's office said his bill was aimed at preserving local and community newspapers, not conglomerates which may also own radio and TV stations. His bill would also let a non-profit buy newspapers owned by a conglomerate.

"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."

Newspaper subscriptions and advertising have shrunk dramatically in the past few years as Americans have turned more and more to the Internet or television for information....
Thus far, the bill has no co-sponsors. In sane times, the bill wouldn't have any co-sponsors. But do we live in sane times?

Who or what entity will next be looking for or offered some kind of bailout? Whoever or whatever entity seeks help from the federal government and thereby from the taxpayer, some politician on Capitol Hill will be willing to accommodate the request — in the name of looking out for our "general welfare," no doubt.

The clause "promote the general welfare," in the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States, has led to more expansion of government than our Founders ever foresaw or advocated. Would our Founders any longer recognize the country which they established?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 3/25/2009 07:32:00 AM