From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age? #544505-03241

Submission Number:
James Mitchem
Initiative Name:
From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
The concepts proposed in this draft document are in direct conflict with the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. A. Wherein government fiscal and regulatory intervention into the media market place will put government regulators in the position of picking winners and losers. That these decisions could be arbitrarily based upon which mediums and opinions officials deem to be in the "public good". Outlets deemed not to be in the public good or contrary to the interests of the government could likely sooner or later be excluded or discriminated against. B. Wherein the government intervention against what the draft paper termed "parasitic aggregators" would place harmful payment requirements on bloggers and therefore violate the free speech of individual Americans by subjecting free speech to taxation. C. Wherein proposed government intervention would burden American citizens with licensing requirements that would abridge freedom of speech and freedom of the press. D. Wherein proposed government intervention would create a culture of intimidation and fear among reporters fearing loss of licensing, loss of subsidies, loss of tax exempt status and perhaps even loss of employment that would force journalists to choose between job security and reporting the truth without bias towards the desires of government officials. E. Wherein a government fiscal support system of journalists could be used in a selective manner to move public opinion in what it deemed to be a favorable direction. Namely by hiring and supporting journalists favorable to it's positions and excluding those it considered to be not acting in the "public good". F. Wherein government intervention would disfavor media outlets that do not qualify for or through moral compunction refuse to accept federal funds, doing so to remain independent of the government for purposes of journalistic objectivity. G. Wherein government intervention will stifle new media by placing upon it burdensome restrictions that will favor large, well financed organizations. H. Where in individuals using Twitter, Facebook and other such mediums could be treated as criminals if posting links to news content through those accounts and not paying a fee for aggregating content. This payment requirement would hit economically disadvantaged bloggers the hardest. I. Wherein the suggested government intervention could cause the use of government influence in journalism for politically partisan activities. J. Where in government intervention would create a conflict of interest among journalists that could lead to media bias. For all these reasons and many more, federal intervention into the press even to support it, is antithetical to the design, intent and purpose of the First Amendment. Beyond this, according to a June 6th and 7th Rasmussen poll a 85% majority of Americans oppose government intervention in the media citing potential harm to the freedom, independence and objectivity of the press. Furthermore, government intervention on the behalf of print media could stifle innovation rather than encouraging the evolution of the press. It would be as though the government had ordained to save the horse and buggy industry, not because it was competitive, not because the public viewed it as desirable. Rather, because the government viewed it as being in the "public good". Such a paternalistic role is simply inappropriate in a constitutional republic. The role of government is to protect the liberties of citizens against the usurpations of individual freedom by others, not to usurp those freedoms to expand it's own power. Therefore if America is to remain a free nation the most important freedom to uphold is that of the freedom of information derived from free speech and the press, for upon this all other sound decisions are made. Government intervention in the media will only be destructive to that end, for like all other instruments of governance, it is subject to abuse.