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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Popular media: Proposed bailouts? Oh, please, no.

Michelle Malkin, whose guts I admire, echoes my own view of proposed media bailouts:
I launched a Newspaper Bailout Countdown Clock on my blog after The New York Times Company's bonds plunged into junk territory in October. A few weeks later, columnist Jon Fine published a tongue-in-cheek memo in BusinessWeek outlining a federal newspaper rescue proposal.

The jibes were meant to be facetious critiques of for-profit enterprises demanding massive taxpayer expenditures under the guise of preserving the "public interest." But now, in a rather unfunny turn, the newspaper bailout push has actually come to pass.
I expect we will hear many proposals like the one she documents, as various media find the new online world too much to cope with. Malkin concludes,
How "free" can a "free press" be if it is leveraged with government funding? How free would they be to criticize other corporate enterprises seeking local, state or federal help to keep them afloat in hard times? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? A press beholden to the ruling class -- a press that cannot stand on its own two feet and the strength of its product -- is a press better off dead.
Yes, I would say so. It is merely another burden to the taxpayer.

The original purpose of media was to be a permanent critic of government. That is why we are called the fourth estate. We have privileges, we can display our press cards and rush into newsworthy venues. We also have some serious duties = go to jail rather than name a source to whom we have promised anonymity. That is a classic form of civil disobedience.

The two biggest changes in my lifetime have been

1. The growth of private citizen media

and

2. The way so many big time media have morphed into government media.

In explaining this change, two factors seem key to me:

1. The materialist worldview in which legacy mainstream media grew up is collapsing of its own unpersuasiveness - for a variety of reasons.

Example: When science media are reduced to trying to explain why Texan Marilyn Mock bought a house for Tracey Orr based on selfishness, they are really reaching.

Such views are not renounced, so they can never be retired. They are part of the belief system of the journalist who has bought into materialism, and their shelf life is forever.

That is why you will hear them recycled in pop science media, again and again = ancestral cave men spread their selfish genes by behaving this way (whatever that way was!), so that is why Mock does it today. Yuh. Right. Big enlightenment, that.

2. We will not likely get anything better out of popular science media in the foreseeable future. The critical problem is, as Malkin noted above, media companies may want to force the taxpayer to fund their nonsense, thus delaying a transition to a more responsive media.

For what it is worth, I blog regularly at Future Tense, which covers these issues in detail. If you found this post helpful, you might find this one even more so.

Don't worry, we are not a cult, and you will not be asked for money. We are a group of Canadian Christian writers who are finding a way through the transitions, and we have lots of good links.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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