Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bail Out Newspapers?!!!

"America's newspapers are struggling to survive, and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved, including hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount," Mr. Kerry said.

And now in the "You've Gotta Be Kidding" file, we have this. Newspapers are failing. And they are failing big time. It could be that in a bad economy, the average American-who by the way doesn't really read ANYTHING anymore-finds his or her news through the likes of Yahoo or MSN or any of the various units that serve us with internet access. It's all right there, served up in short sentences with interactive pictures-right next to the news on what Paris Hilton is doing and what your dog should wear this summer.

Don't get me wrong, for a long time the idea of an ideal Sunday morning is a fresh cinnamon twist, hot tea and the Sunday paper. Some of my earliest reading memories were of cartoons and Dear Abby columns. But in the past few years the paper has become a pale ghost of its exuberant past. Instead of insightful reporting based not on the AP or MacLatchkey view of the world, but on the local views and implications of a local reporter, we get the same hash of psuedo-news that is served up by its big brothers in the world of TV.

While many laud the narrowing of the journalistic vision, our nation was not one created out of the bland consensus of the population, it was painfully birthed through dialogue, debate and division. To dismiss or simply ignore opposing views is to allow them to fester in silence. And by and large, that seems to be what the Obama Administration is attempting to do.

Consider this-if you hire someone and pay them to write, do you really think they will dare to criticize you? On a larger scale, if the federal government sets up selected papers as the "officially sanctioned" outlets for news, doesn't that create a very unlevel playing field for those newspapers that don't get such considerations? And if you only have one official version of the news, isn't that what we used to call "propaganda?" But the dangers are larger than this, if we do not have those gadflies that question Congress, expose greed and let the public know what is going on while they were sleeping, then we risk seeing these freedoms ripped away without even knowing they are dissolving before our eyes.

We can and must have a free press. And that means that government has no business in paying their way. They must adapt as did other industries or fade away to allow the growth of newer and better outlets. We no longer support the makers of buggy whips or poke bonnets because the need for them in the market is gone. Senator Kerry would have people believe that this is an attempt to preserve and protect free speech as personified in the newspaper industry. But make no mistake, the false bravado given by Senator Kerry and his ilk are not meant to preserve freedom of the press, they are meant to CONTROL it.

Just like the Fairness Act, just like the whispering campaigns of and just like the countless murmured misdirections given out with nodding assurances in order to shape political policy. In the bad old days of the USSR, those acts used to be called "The Big Lie". In our own country, they were called "Yellow Journalism." But whatever you call it, using our own press to hide the truth, whether for personal profit or political gain, is a crime against America and an assault on it's freedoms.

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