Friday, December 4, 2009

Great moments in the history of the 1st amendment

Apparently, the Federal Trade Commission is having a jobs summit of its own but is focusing on how to rescue the journalism industry and one of the keynote speakers this week was Henry Waxman (D-Mars) who trooped down from the Hill in order to make his case for a government bailout of the newsies.

"We cannot risk the loss of an informed public and all that that means" because of market failure, Waxman said. But he also said the government would need to tread carefully and he set up some ground rules for considering possible solutions that ranged from tax law changes and nonprofit status to antitrust law changes to a review of "cross-media laws that may constrain the commercial vitality of the industry." He said he had an open mind about all the proposals and thought they should all be discussed.

The author of cap and trade, legislation that will essentially dictate what forms of energy we all will be permitted to subsist upon and which as a result plays picking winners and losers with respect to entire industries and the people it employs is worried about the need for government to tread carefully? Beautiful.

First, he said, there should be consensus both inside and outside the media industry that the proposal is in the public interest. Second, it would need bipartisan support and "vigorous enforcement from both sides of the aisle." He said any public model would have to address the concern that "government control of journalism would lead to government control of content," as well as articulating the scope and dollars required, plus what the source of revenues would be.

Vigorous enforcement? Like what? Fines? Jailtime like Pelosi refused to rule out for non-compliance with Obamacare? And how exactly do you “address” concerns that the feds and its bureaucratic lackeys won’t be calling the content shots? You can’t because there is no explaining away the inevitable conclusion that federal money will have a corresponding effect on content control. And sources of revenue? Please.

And who was at the FTC journalism jobs fair?

The morning session also featured media policy activists, public broadcasters and proponents of nonprofit journalism making the case for government funding of the media.

That sounds like quite a diverse group who would be stellar defendants of the 1st amendment.

And what did some of these free speech advocates have to say for themselves:

"As a civil society, we don't trust the open market or the free market" to provide such valuable services, said Jon McTaggart, the senior vice president and chief operating officer of American Media Group, and neither should the media be allowed to suffer because of market forces.

Valuable services like putting food on the table, flying virtually anywhere in the world, performing open-heart surgery and providing automotive transportation. Uhh, put a partial scratch through that last one.

Eric Newton, vice president of the journalism program at the Knight Foundation, called the idea that government has never been involved in media a "mythology. "It's a bogus argument that just keeps us from doing the right thing," he said.

Newton’s exactly right. One of the finer examples of the government gettin' involved in the journalism business was back when President Lincoln didn't trust the free market to provide such a valuable service to society either and was shutting down newspapers left and right and throwing people in jail for what they were printing during the Civil War.

The fact that many of these people who are now lining up at the government trough cut their teeth in underground journalism and the free speech movement of the 60s or who are its direct cultural and ideological descendants and who'd rather swing from their love beads than be caught shilling for federal handouts is particularly galling and demonstrates just how intellectually bankrupt the statist nature of the New Left really was.

Way to stand on principle, guys


Harrison said...

The press already supports the Democrats why shouldn't they return the favor?

Anonymous said...

Uh, Diloronzo is like one microwave short of a tin foil hat. I don't support bailing out the newspapers, and it's fair enough to note Lincoln shut a number down (though there was a pretty fine line for Democratic ones urging soldiers to throw down their arms), but Diloronzo is borderline fiction in many aspects.

Neely has much better take: