From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
Any media outlet that cannot support itself should be allowed to fail. We, as a nation, are not in need of any particular media organization. I, as an American Taxpayer, do not want to subsidize any news organization nor do I want successful media outlets to have to subsidize their competition as this hinders their ability to stay in business. In general, no attempt to subsidize any individual, company, group, or class of individuals that simply cannot manage their finances should be undertaken by our government. This proposed undertaking is an outrageous attack on our freedom. Whether it be by mismanagement of funds of lack of viewership or readership, any news organization that cannot support itself should not be propped up at the expense of another organization or public moneys. There is no guarantee within the bill of rights that if your business fails that the government or other entities will provide support and that is not merely an error by omission. Such laws and/or regulations that essentially tax successful businesses to aid their competition hinders those organizations which are profitable and will serve to prevent new organizations from flourishing, which will, in turn, hinder free speech and freedom of the press because of the need for compliance with regulations that with negatively effect any businesses or individuals who are determined by law to be required to support these failing media outlets. Furthermore, the idea that the internet has somehow doomed journalism is absolute madness. That notion is absolutely untrue and is so obviously untrue that I would question the integrity of any person or persons that suggested it. There are many online news outlets that are doing well and there are even TV news networks that are doing well. The fact is that only certain networks are doing poorly, predominately the typical New York networks and papers; CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times, etc. I would suggest that such a company A. Move to a location with a more favorable tax structure, B. operate within its means by laying off workers and/or closing down unneeded portions of its business and hiring based on their revenue levels, C. these organizations should be allowed to fail if they have not managed their expenses or their practices well enough to maintain profitability. A regulation that subsidizes such a company would be tantamount to buying them off or bribing them with other business's or people's money due to the fact that continuing support from such a law is dependent on the continued existence of such a law and meeting the requirements for support from such a law. News outlets would have the ability to positively effect this administration's, as well as future administrations and congresses, ability to be re-elected through more favorable coverage and such a boon to their operating costs combined with such a blow to their competition could easily be construed as a bribe. In order to maintain free speech and freedom of the press, the government must NEVER subsidize media outlets and should most certainly not do so at the expense of their competition. The FTC's time would be better served by studying the effects of the digital switch on broadcast TV outlets and on the number of subscribers to cable, satellite, and other TV providers to determine if there is a correlation to the declining viewership of those major broadcast organizations. One thing the FTC should NOT do is to explore ways to fund a failing business. Another item the FTC should most certainly not undertake is studying how to de-fund a business's competitors. I, for one, will not stand for the government subsidizing one Media outlet at the expense of another because it constitutes a bribe and seriously damages the integrity of those organizations. I demand that the FTC not undertake this exercise at all.