From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
I am opposed to any government subsidy of journalism -- past, present or future. Failure to preserve and enhance the arms length relationship between journalism and government can only result in a politicized journalism that ends up being the propaganda ministry for the politicians and special interests who control government funding ("His bread I eat; his song I sing"). The free market should be the sole foundation of financial support for journalism. If journalists produce a good product, people will pay for it. As a corollary to this rule, the failure of newspapers, television news broadcasters, etc., to make enough money to survive is a sign that they are failing to deliver a good product. That is no one's fault but their own. You do not even consider this possibility in your report, however. I find that very disturbing. We need to begin by asking why people don't want to pay for what mainstream journalists -- not ALL journalists -- offer. I think the answer to this question is not difficult to find. Simply compare what the profitable journalists are doing to what the unprofitable mainstream journalists are doing. In my opinion, the profitable journalists are doing political advocacy journalism that is conservative in nature. They make no bones about this and don't pretend not to be conservative. The mainstream journalists, on the other hand, claim to be politically neutral but are in fact politically liberal to left-leaning. The overwhelming majority of mainstream journalists are politically liberal (judging from surveys of their party registration) and this is reflected not only in their editorializing but in a lot of obviously biased reporting that omits facts that would support a conservative conclusion. Given that people do not like to be deceived, it is no wonder that consumers are walking away from mainstream journalism. Given that this country is more conservative overall than most mainstream journalists are, it is no wonder that mainstream journalists are losing their audience. And given their politically unbalanced orientation (with only token attempts to include conservative views, and a studied refusal to report facts that would support conservative conclusions), it is simply not true that mainstream journalism is a "public good" that should be supported by the government. Supporting mainstream journalism in its present incarnation would be the equivalent of supporting liberal to left-wing propaganda that favors increasing governmental control of everything. It is no wonder that this issue is coming up at a time when liberal Democrats and leftists are in power in Washington. This is nothing more than the political left trying to perpetuate its failing propaganda machine through involuntary taxes levied on U.S. citizens. If it were to actually be carried out, it would be an appalling violation of the first amendment to the Constitution. It would amount to government taking control of speech and public discourse on behalf of a one-sided political agenda -- an agenda that itself is fundamentally un-American and hostile both to individual liberty and to the notion that people should take responsibility for their own choices. For mainstream journalism to survive without government help, it will need to become better. That means addressing the issues I have raised above. Publishers and broadcasters need to find an equal number of conservatives to balance their reporting and editorializing. They also need to acquaint themselves with the difference between rhetoric and logic, between one-sided reporting and telling both sides of ths story fully so that readers or listeners can form an independent and truly informed opinion. No to ANY government support for journalism. Period. End.