From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
The proposed Future of Journalism policy is a direct assault on First Amendment freedom of the press. There cannot be First Amendment freedom of the press if the press becomes dependent on the government for funding. The FTC is controlled by political appointees, which inevitably means that funding would flow to that parts of the press that comments favorably on the policies favored by the current administration. This might serve well the then-current current administration, but it does not serve well the public. In essence, the press becomes a censored entity, just as if it had been forcibly taken over by a dictatorship. While some parts of the press may be in trouble financially, that does not translate to a need for the government to fund the troubled parts. If a publication is in trouble, that means that the citizenry finds it not useful. Why should the government fund a part of the press that the public does not find useful? The proposed policy is much different than the government bailing out parts of the auto industry. The auto industry is not mentioned in the First Admendment. While one may be philosophically opposed to the government proscribing which vehicles can be built and which cannot, there is not a First Amendment prohibition against the government doing so. Quite a different situation from that of the federal government declaring some sort of emergency with regard to the press and then deciding that it will fund parts of the press but not others. In the latter case, there is an inherent conflict of interest.