Matt Welch says newspaper bailouts will continue to be on journalists’ minds:
Here’s a new holiday cocktail for you: Combine one part bailout seasoning with another part perennial journalistic self-pity, pour it out over the Christmas/New Year’s publishing interregnum and presto!—it’s time for patriotic men and women to get behind a government rescue of what was until very recently one of the most profitable sectors in the United States: The newspaper industry.
. . . .
Mark my words: This will not be the last time you hear about newspaper bailouts. Not if journalists have anything to say about it.
If newspapers are bailed out, any remaining watchdogs will become lapdogs.
Maybe they’re not worried about that because they know they already are lapdogs for the upcoming Obama administration. But what happens when, in the future, newspapers must depend on Republican largesse for their survival? Aha . . . maybe then they’ll see the problem.
This isn’t hard. Any journalist that would take a government handout forfeits any claim to being a journalist. Period.
If they can’t maintain basic independence from the government, what the hell good are they anyway?
P.S. Matt’s piece is filled with fun facts about his former employer, the L.A. Times;
Blaming the customer is the second-to-last refuge of any crappy industry, business, or organization (the last refuge being asking for a handout on Capitol Hill). As my ex-L.A. Times colleague and current Reason magazine Contributing Editor Tim Cavanaugh has noted in our pages, the paper we both short-timed for was filled with people making jokes about whether we could just “fire our readers.”
Arrogance? What arrogance? I also love this:
In an era where there are no journalists left who don’t have an e-mail address, newspapers still employ strange woodland creatures known as ombudsmen to “interface” with readers. On their first beer, newspaper hacks will talk bitterly about Jeff Jarvis and Mickey Kaus and Jay Rosen, all those ivory tower types who think newspapers could somehow be better with less staffing…and by the third they’re talking smack about the writer across the hall who hasn’t filed a thing in four months (and who never took any of the voluntary buyouts, for obvious reasons).
Sounds like someone was complaining about Chuck Philips, doesn’t it?