But Jim McDermott (D-WA), who just watched one of his own, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, circle the drain, doesn’t think there’s much will on Capitol Hill to bailout newspapers. McDermott told Politico, “We’ll bail out AIG and Goldman Sachs, companies that have no redeeming social value whatsoever,” McDermott told Politico, “but we are letting our newspapers go down the drain as if they were only good for the bottom of the birdcage.” He said that he’s talked to his colleagues about the situation, but noted that there seemed to be only one thing capable of getting them to pay attention – when their own hometown paper joins the endangered species list.
A problem inherent with a government bailout of newspapers, however, is the fact that the newspaper is supposed to provide a check on government power and expose its abuse. It’s hard to credit a journalistic enterprise with effectively filling that role if it is relying on that same government for its own survival.
RBR/TVBR observation: We’re all for newspapers, but if the paper in your town is in trouble and staying in trouble, better your station scavange its client list than some webmaster somewhere – unless it’s your own webmaster.