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The Great Newspaper Bailout

Written by Business & Media Institute

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BMI-GreatNPBailout-SmallPresident who gave us Government Motors  now wants to give us  Government Media

A study from the Business & Media Institute

Executive Summary

The pattern repeats itself - an industry in chaos, companies going bankrupt, thousands of workers losing jobs. It's time for government intervention. That's been the Obama administration's model for Wall Street, insurance giant AIG and the auto industry.

Now it could be the same for the American media. Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC are all looking at ways to "help" journalism.

On Sept. 20, President Obama threw his support to the concept by saying: "I'll be happy to look at" bills aiding the industry. That fits the Obama mindset, who said in a Sept. 22 interview that big government wasn't the problem with Wall Street. "We had too little government, too little regulation," he explained.

There's no question that the news industry has fallen on hard times. The rise of the Internet, plummeting advertising and more have contributed to a broad decline, especially in newspapers. But even prominent journalists are so desperate to save their profession and their own jobs that they are heedless to the overall dangers inherent in Government Media.

Instead, journalists are working hand-in-hand with left-wing media groups including the Huffingtonpost.com and George Soros-funded Free Press to plan how government can expand its media influence. Both Free Press and American Public Media, which owns and operates 780 public radio stations in the U.S., joined top media experts in an August session on the future of journalism. That event included extensive discussion of ways government could aid the news business, from to tax policy to "direct government subsidies for media."

With Congress looking into a media bailout, here are some important aspects of the debate that must be considered:

Recommendations

Increasing government involvement in the media is wrong-headed and dangerous. The government is already too involved in media. The 1st Amendment clearly states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."  Getting government more involved in the media - either through regulations or outright funding - would have horrible long-term consequences.

The biases of the traditional media have been long established in numerous studies. Making journalists more beholden to the politicians and government officials they are supposed to cover would further undermine the integrity of the Fourth Estate.

Instead, the Business & Media Institute has several recommendations on the future of journalism:

The mission of the Business & Media Institute (BMI) is to audit the media's coverage of the free enterprise system. It is our goal to bring balance to economic reporting and to promote fair portrayal of the business community in the media. Providing resources for journalists, such as connections to sources who can speak intelligently about the economy, is one way we pursue this end. BMI is the economics division of the Media Research Center, and it is the only organization in the world dedicated to the unique challenge of correcting misconceptions about free enterprise in the media.

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