21 Mar 2009 Outrage of the Day: The Left Calls for $60 Billion in Subsidies to Mainstream Media
Writing for the left-wing magazine The Nation, writers John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney call upon government to start funding newspapers.
They suggest $20 billion a year for the next three years to start.
Here’s the core of their argument:
We begin with the notion that journalism is a public good, that it has broad social benefits far beyond that between buyer and seller. Like all public goods, we need the resources to get it produced. This is the role of the state and public policy. It will require a subsidy and should be regarded as similar to the education system or the military in that regard. Only a nihilist would consider it sufficient to rely on profit-seeking commercial interests or philanthropy to educate our youth or defend the nation from attack. With the collapse of the commercial news system, the same logic applies. Just as there came a moment when policy-makers recognized the necessity of investing tax dollars to create a public education system to teach our children, so a moment has arrived at which we must recognize the need to invest tax dollars to create and maintain news gathering, reporting and writing with the purpose of informing all our citizens.
Can you imagine The Nation fretting that declining church attendance harms society, and as a result calling for $60 billion in subsidies to America’s churches? Ha!
But it’s just as well.
What government subsidizes, government owns.
If you have any doubt, ask certain executives at financial institutions that received bailout money.
Publicly-funded media is a dangerous idea. We shouldn’t even be funding NPR.