The weakness of the arguments for government subsidies for journalism can be seen in their inconsistency.
The advertising model that has supported journalism for more than a century has broken down, authors Robert McChesney and John Nichols argue in great detail in their book The Death and Life of American Journalism. They argue strongly for heavy government subsidies for journalism. And how would they finance the subsidies? One of the taxes they propose — and I’m pretty sure they were serious — is a tax on advertising.
After telling us emphatically that advertising is on its deathbed and can’t possibly support the journalism that our democracy needs to survive, they turn around without a hint of irony and insist that a tax on advertising is somehow going to help give new life to journalism. (more…)