From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
Freedom of expression via the press is a right guaranteed under the US Constitution. There is no right for the press or anyone else that the product it produces will be purchased by the public or the Federal Government. The press has been free to choose what it will produce and to use whatsoever forum meets its end in the delivery of its product. It has frequently chosen to accept advertisers to financially augment its earnings in the sale of it journalistic products. It has delivered its product on printed material for many years. With the advent of radio and later TV and now the Internet, the press has taken advantage of the evolving technological means to sell its product to the public. As in times past and now currently, the public is free to purchase the product put out by the press or not to. It is the press’s responsibility to make its product and to choose whatsoever carrier method it chooses to deliver it to the public for purchase. If one form or another carrier method of delivery and sale becomes unprofitable to the press, it is the presses responsibility to adapt to the carrier demands of the public. If the public decides it does not like the quality of the product being presented and/or the carrier method of its delivery, it is the public’s prerogative not to buy it. The fact that the public does not buy it does not then place a responsibility on the Federal Government or any government body to buy the press’s product or to subsidize it. Government has no right to take the public’s money (taxes or otherwise collected) to buy or subsidize the press’s product that the public has already rejected to buy in the first instance in the market place. Abraham Lincoln described in his Gettysburg Address government to be by the people, of the people, for the people. For the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or any other government agency to push for a program, policy, regulation or any other action whose ultimate aim or result is to buy or subsidize the press is a presumptive right it does not have. The FTC current push as expressed in its Reinvention of Journalism is such an action which is contrary to the US Constitution, the use of the public’s money and runs contrary to the public sentiment based on its rejection of certain products of the press.