A Government Bailout for the Media?

Some argue that a government boost is the only option.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

First Wall Street. Then Detroit. Now the media? That's the talk among some in the news biz who want a government bailout. "I would argue it is the only answer," says John Nichols, the Washington correspondent for the Nation, a liberal magazine. His argument: The Founding Fathers wanted the public to be informed. "So what did they do? They created a media system" with subsidized papers. Nichols argues that, with the right policies, the modern government can give the media a boost through tax cuts, postal subsidies, and other initiatives—like funding high school newspapers—to make sure communities are getting coverage. R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., founder and editor-in-chief of the righty American Spectator, thinks that's nuts. If Uncle Sam pays, then the feds could police journalism and that might hurt partisan publications like his or the Nation, he says. "There are a lot of people who would consider the American Spectator not journalism, so we wouldn't get the subsidy," Tyrrell says.

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