Thursday, December 10, 2009

A government that controls the press – controls the people

In a recent survey up to 90% of Americans that regularly read the news get at least some of their news online. This trend has been growing and has placed a serious financial burden, and even forced bankruptcy on major US news papers as circulation of print media plummets.

But according to Democrat congressman Henry Waxman of California since the newspaper industry is suffering "market failure" the US government will need to step in to help preserve serious journalism essential to democracy.

In a statement during a meeting on journalism in the Internet age hosted by the Federal Trade Commission, Waxman said "The newspapers my generation has taken for granted are facing a structural threat to the business model that has sustained them".

"The loss of revenue has spurred a vicious cycle with thousands of journalists losing their jobs”.

Waxman, who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over the FTC, went on to say "depression in the media sector is not cyclical, it is structural."

"While this has implications for the media it also has implications for democracy," he added. "A vigorous free press and vigorous democracy have been inextricably linked.

"We cannot risk the loss of an informed public and all that means because of this market failure”.

Waxman noted various possible remedies, including new tax structures for publishers, providing non-profit status, changing anti-trust regulations or eliminating a law that bars owning a newspaper and a television station in the same city.
But "as we look at these various solutions, government is going to have to be involved in one way or the other," he warned.

"Eventually, government is going to have to be responsible to help resolve these issues and our whole society depends very much on reaching some resolution of the problem."

When you consider that the first move of any government that is seeking to restrict the rights of its citizens is to seize control of its media,
the idea that the US government should take any stake, let alone a financial one in the media should not only be a major concern to all American’s but one that should be stopped dead in its tracks, before this insane notion has any chance of being taken seriously.