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The Media Government The Almighty Buck

Journalists Looking For Government Money 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the bizarro-world dept.
We've been following the ongoing struggles of the print media, watching as some publications have died off and others have held to outdated principles and decried the influence of the internet. A side effect of this has been many journalists put out of work and many others fearful that informed reporting is on its way out as well. Now, an editorial in the Washington Post calls for a solution journalists would likely have scoffed at only a few years ago: federal subsidies. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols write, "What to do? Bailing out media conglomerates would be morally and politically absurd. These firms have run journalism into the ground. If they cannot make it, let them go. Wait for 'pay-wall' technologies, billionaire philanthropists or unimagined business models to generate enough news to meet the immense demands of a self-governing society? There is no evidence that such a panacea is on the horizon. This leaves one place to look for a solution: the government." They hasten to add, "Did we just call for state-run media? Quite the opposite."
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Journalists Looking For Government Money

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  • Just look around (Score:5, Informative)

    by svirre (39068) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @11:10AM (#29934685)

    In norway print media is getting significant goverment subsidies. The consequence is that rather than having media which is a watchdog over goverment, they have become a shill of the leftist 'big-goverment' political parties. (Since these are the parties that will guarantee their continued pipe into taxpayer money)

    Every time somone brings up the question of subsidies you can trust that every newspaper will write long editorials why they need to keep getting money.

    Particularly aggravating is the fact that a small selection of newspapers are getting preferential treatment (more money than others). These papers just happen to be the papers that used to be the publishing fronts for four leftist political parties. They claim to be independent of cource, but it won't take much reading to realize just how skewed their presentation really is.

    So just take a look around and you will quickly find good reasons why not to start subsidizing the press.

  • by Pope Jimbo (1023563) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @11:12AM (#29934703)
    In the very near past, newspapers were making profit margins of 30%, today they are still making margins of 10%. The problem isn't that they are unprofitable (they are more profitable than health insurance companies - 6%), it is that they over extended themselves when times were good. [] Yes, they will have to update their business model to reflect the realities of the digital world, but most of their woes are related to making less of a profit than they had expected. There is a big difference between making less of a profit and not making any profit.
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @11:15AM (#29934729) Journal

    >>>The broadcast spectrum monopolies that CBS,NBC,ABC don't pay a cent for

    False. I wish people would stop repeating this oft-stated lie. The ~2000 TV stations plus ~10,000 lowpower/clear air neighborhood stations all pay a lease for their spectrum (called a license fee).

    >>>plus the entire copyright system

    On this we agree. The original version in the 1790 Act was reasonable - 14 years of monopoly helped the authors stand on their own feet and earn money from their labor. Today's 105-year span is ridiculous. It's like creating a welfare state where an author pen a best-seller in his 20s, and then sit on his ass for the rest of his life, signing books, and collecting the residuals. (cough J.K.Rowlings). The rest of us poor slobs have to work 'til we're 70 or 80.

    14 years plus a possibility for renewal (28 years total) is long enough.

  • by oh2 (520684) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @12:06PM (#29935059) Homepage Journal
    We spend about $60M per year on this in Sweden. The conditions are that you have to be the second largest newspaper in town, have a circulation of at least 2000 mainly through subscriptions, must not have more than 30% of the local market and it must not have turn a profit. There are other minor conditions as well, but thats basically how it works. The money is apportioned by a special board thats politically independent.
  • by EWAdams (953502) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @12:57PM (#29935355) Homepage

    The BBC is the single best news organization in the world, full stop. Nobody else comes close for global reach and insight. It receives "government" money, i.e. the TV license fee. As a result, it is required by law to be politically neutral, which is one of the best things about it. (So too, is NPR, and if you think NPR is biased, as many conservatives do, it just shows where YOU stand.)

    Because the BBC is government funded it is watched like a hawk by everybody -- the party in power, the party in opposition, the taxpayers' lobby, and so on. It just cut out 20% of its own management thanks to public pressure.

    It's not perfect; there is waste and abuse at times. But it beats the hell out of any American news organization whatsoever.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @12:57PM (#29935361) Journal
    The BBC is quite critical of the government doing the wrong thing. A few things that they've criticised over the last few years (not an exhaustive list, just ones that I remember):
    • Invading Iraq with insufficient evidence.
    • MP's expenses.
    • Reclassifying cannabis as Class B against expert advice (and then sacking the experts for having politically incorrect opinions).
  • Re:good description (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @01:09PM (#29935447) Journal

    >>>250 years ago, there were no "newspapers". They were technologically impossible, and demographically unreadable.

    That's only true if you completely-and-totally ignore the existence of founding father Benjamin Franklin. He ran a weekly Philadelphia newspaper for several decades, and became so rich he was able to retire at age 40 (circa 1750). Granted he also earned money from publishing other people's books, but to say newspapers were not possible is an untruth.

    I bet the major cities of Europe also had newspapers in the 1700s.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @01:44PM (#29935667) Journal

    >>>[DNC-NBC] isn't a real news organisation not because it is right wing, but because it doesn't really care about actual truth, it just broadcasts whatever it likes regardless of the facts.

    Fixed. After all it was MS-NBC that showed a man toting a rifle at a presidential protest and had their reporters wax eloquently about "white racists who fear having a black president" for 5 solid minutes.

    Turns-out the video was creatively-edited. The rifle-carrying protester was black. MSNBC was guilty of reporting fake news, altering video, instilling fear amongst blacks, hate speech about whites ("racists"), and creating propaganda. And the rifle-guy was actually a black man! - link []


  • Projection (Score:3, Informative)

    by microbox (704317) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @02:33PM (#29936019)
    Did you even bother reading the source you linked? It completely undermines your argument, and supports mine.

    Take this little snippet: Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR , and FAIR’s latest study gives it no support.

    It's hilarious that blatantly biased conservative media will call something like NPR/PBS as "liberal media".

    Conservatives are circumspect when talking about the bias in their favourite media -- and invariably go on the offensive, accusing objective media outlets as being liberally biased -- when there is no evidence for that in NPR/PBS. The supposition is that people disagree with your life-stance because of poor education, and are suckered by the liberal media elite, when no such elite operates in comparison to the conservative media elite.

    In psychological terms, that's called projection. It's also irrational, since there are ways to operationally define media objectivity, even though it's a complex issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 31, 2009 @03:38PM (#29936449)

    Glenn Beck is not even remotely interested in questions. He asks questions that he and his fellow talking heads then proceed to make up completely unfounded answers for. His so called hard hitting questions are entirely rhetorical. Haven't you noticed that every single person on Fox is using identical language and terminology for every issue? This is not by coincidence, it is straight up indoctrination 101.

  • Re:Projection (Score:3, Informative)

    by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @10:30PM (#29938817) Homepage

    I thought it a bit implausible that NPR had never interviewed Ron Paul. In fact, I was so certain that I knew what the result would be, my only reason for googling it was to make you look dumb.

    I was right.

    You were wrong.

    Link: Ron Paul on All Things Considered [].

    You can dismiss that as a small thing, but I hope you'll give it a moment's consideration. The whole point of carrying a model of the world around in your head is so that you can make accurate predictions about things when you don't have first-hand experience. If your mental model of NPR leads you to predict that they would never dare let Ron Paul speak, or Rush Limbaugh [], or Glenn Beck [], or Michael Steele [], or climate change denier Richard Lindzen [], or former Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr [] on their airwaves, then clearly your understanding of NPR is crap, and your belief that you know what NPR is about is deluded.

  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @11:09PM (#29939001) Homepage

    The fees paid to the FCC seem to be meant to reflect the cost of processing the application and performing the FCC's regulatory duties. Not a word about paying to use the spectrum itself. [src []]

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