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Posts Tagged ‘John Nichols’

If you think government should subsidize journalism, check out the outcry over NPR’s firing of Juan Williams.

I’m not going to weigh in on whether Williams’ remarks should have been a firing offense. You can argue that in a circle with valid points on either side and I don’t care to. My point is simply that the hiring and firing of journalists and the standards of a news organization should not be a subject for Congress to waste a single minute on. Our founders wisely set journalism outside the government. Yet House Minority Leader (and perhaps the next House Speaker) John Boehner and other Republicans are calling for legislation to cut off NPR’s federal funding. (more…)

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The federal government has lots of important issues it needs to deal with these days. It doesn’t need to deal with protecting newspapers. It shouldn’t protect newspapers. It can’t afford to protect with newspapers.

  1. Howard Owens
    howardowens Dear Uncle Sam: Butt out. We don’t need your interference in the news business.

The Federal Trade Commission wasted taxpayers’ money on a hearing last December on whether the government should take some action to prop up the nation’s faltering newspaper industry. The discussion will continue June 15 and an FTC staff report on discussion points makes clear that this exercise isn’t about saving journalism, but about saving newspapers. (more…)

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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…)

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Sigh. The drumbeat for unwise government subsidies for journalism continues with a How to Save Journalism essay in The Nation. It was written by Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, authors of The Death and Life of American Journalism, just published.

I hardly know where to start in addressing the faulty reasoning of the essay. It was not persuasive enough that I will buy the book. But government subsidies for journalism, for some reason, are a hot topic, so I weigh in once more. (more…)

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If you are interested in this, check out Five more reasons government shouldn’t subsidize journalism, responding to another piece by McChesney and Nichols.

This madness has to stop. Intelligent people have to stop thinking that government funding is the solution to the economic challenges facing newspapers.

I love newspapers. I hope they survive and thrive (again) for the rest of my life and beyond. If that delivery system fails, I hope healthy new business and journalism models emerge and stabilize to continue the important roles that newspapers have played for their communities and the nation: informing us of the news and playing the watchdog role on government and other powerful institutions. (more…)

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