Thursday, September 24, 2009

Obama and Saving Newspapers

Next on the bailout agenda is the bailout of newspapers. I was framing a blog in my mind about the issue when I came across the article below by Michael Reagan. He pretty much touches on most of the points I was going to include, but you know I still have to expound, pontificate, blather a little bit...

The world of the news is changing. We're going through a shift that is rather like the industrial revolution and every other change that has occurred due to new innovations. People are in the process, especially the "next generation", of moving from the printed page to the Internet. (To my green friends: isn't that better than killing trees and wasting energy for printing, etc., etc.). I think we'll always love the printed word on paper, but maybe that's just 'cause I love to curl up on the couch with a good book. I'll have to admit that I get all, very bit, of my news from the Internet though.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of revenue making abilities on the Internet... yet... (although we're doing pretty well most days at the Fayette Front Page, Georgia Front Page and Arts Across Georgia ;-). It'll come. At least it'll happen as long as government keeps their mitts out and allows the free market to do its thing. (side note: check out the "net neutrality" issue)

One surprising fact, or not so surprising if you lean conservative, that Mr. Obama always seems to overlook is that the more conservative leaning news print vehicles are actually thriving. Ditto on television. The failing big-guy newspapers aren't paying much attention. They'd rather go down with their bias than survive I suppose... well, guess they're not going down as long as the President is willing to bail them out, huh?

One big issue for me, aside from throwing our tax dollars at yet another business that can't hold its own, is the so-called "freedom of press" issue. We've seen the President and pals meddle overmuch in the auto industry, the banking industry and they're worming their way into other businesses and industries as I type. What happens to the writing at a newspaper when their very existence depends on government hand-outs? Ya think they're going to print the "party line" or the facts if they hurt their chances of hanging onto those federal dollars?

I don't like where we're heading in this country. I don't like big government, it's become "The Blob" from that old Steve McQueen movie. It's growing and it's going to take a lot to freeze it, then shrink it. Probably not the best analogy as I don't really think it needs to be killed, just reformed. Hmmm, maybe I'll write a script for a Blob movie remake where the hero converts it, saves it, fixes it and it does good works... Yep, I went from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous, a bad analogy is just a bad analogy and their ain't no fixin' it. Hey, if you saw the remake of "The Blob" my idea for a new story-line has to be a heck of a lot better .

Newspaper Profitability -- Is it Critical to our Democracy?
by Michael Reagan
Today, as you read this column in your favorite newspaper, I hope that you can appreciate the irony of where I am choosing to voice my opposition to President Obama's expressed "happiness" to look at proposals to provide federal funding to help "rescue" the struggling print segment of the Fourth Estate. Just what we need.more of our tax dollars going to pick and choose segments of the public sector that the administration deems worthy of assistance.

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