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For months there has been the underlying hum of a newspaper bailout in the air – not much surprise there given dropping subscriber numbers and dwindling ad revenues. But in lieu of an actual bailout (i.e. a check from the Treasury), how about some tax breaks and anti-trust waivers?
At a workshop on the the [sic] future of journalism yesterday, the head of the Federal Trade Commission said the agency is studying ways to help struggling media companies struggle a little less. What might this help look like? It could come in the form of new anti-trust laws, tax breaks, government subsides [sic] or even changes to copyright law.
Well if "journalism" involves rampant copy errors like that, we're more screwed than it appears.
Tax breaks for mainstream media? Why? I'm a fringe journalist and I still have to pay my taxes, if I don't bother to tailor my content to my audience to the point that it draws enough ad revenue to pay my bills, maybe I don't deserve to eat that week.
It gets better.
Rupert Murdoch has long fought Internet news aggregation and would love to see a pay-per-view program for news that — holy shit! — might actually save news. Where do you get yours from? Would you pay for it?
In recent comments, he basically called every blogger who has ever clipped a news article a thief, including Arianna Huffington. You may have heard of her.
Fine, charge for it. I'd pay if it was worth paying for. Would you pay for the recent CNN article that said the Big 87654 ended with more employees than they started with? Me neither.
Point being, Murdoch would rather see news sites charging than peddling for a bailout. I don't seem to recall major media outlets begging for any bailouts recently, which naturally inspires a healthy skepticism towards the FTC's comments.
Has the FTC checked this proposed mainstream media bailout "tax break" with the Treasury? Because if I heard correctly, we have $30 billion to put towards Afghanistan now, not to mention the fact that the FDIC is broke and Citigroup is probably going to need a Dubai backstop. I'm not sure if Timmy would be okay with this, better ask him first.