.
July 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should federal government be involved in saving news media?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The news media are fighting to survive - and Dan Rather thinks the government should help rescue them. The former CBS anchorman is calling on President Obama to create a White House commission to help save the press.

Dan Rather believes journalism has declined to a point that it is time for the government to intervene.

Rather says such a commission could make recommendations on saving journalism jobs and creating new business models to help the industry survive. He says there are precedents for this kind of national commission - which have helped other failing industries.

Rather says the stakes couldn't be any higher. He told the Aspen Daily News: "A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom." And he says it's not just journalists who should worry about the fate of the press; but rather every citizen.

He also talked about "the dumbing down and sleazing up" of what we see on the news; and blames that on the blurry line between news and entertainment - along with corporate and political influence on newsrooms. He claims about 80-percent of the media is controlled by a handful of corporations.

Rather also talks about the decline in investigative and international reporting; and says the loss of reporters covering the two ongoing wars hurts our nation.

The bottom line as he sees it: If somebody doesn't step in and take action... the nation will lose its independent media.

Here’s my question to you: Should the federal government be involved in saving the news media?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jason from Hawaii writes:
Once the government bails out any news source, how could we ever expect that source to be objective? It would just be a version of Pravda-lite.

Buddy writes:
Jack, I've been a working journalist for 30-years. The quickest way to lose an independent media in this country is to have it underwritten by the government. It's the media's job to keep tabs on the government, and a federal bailout would create an unacceptable link that would make our reporting suspect.

CJ from Arkansas writes:
They may have to. If news organizations with strict journalistic standards go by the wayside, what will we be left with? More jokes like Fox News?

George writes:
No need for more subsidies. Like during the dawn of the era of radio, then network TV, then cable, all of which threatened the established media of news reporting, let nature take its course.

Dave from New Hampshire writes:
Yeah, something should be done, but I'm not sure if the government is the one to fix the problem; it's like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. I think the education system should impress on the youth how valuable a free and independent press is and how unimportant stories like what Michael Jackson ate for his last meal are.

Bob from Sterling Heights, Michigan writes:
Accepting money from the government. Now there's a good way to assure a free and independent press.

Nancy writes:
As long as we have your voice and the rest of CNN's amazing talented staff, no government saviors needed here!


Filed under: Government • News Media
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Jack C

    Absolutely not ! Gov't's job is to protect the American people and they should stay out of everything else (unless Gov't goal wants to be a Tyranny).
    A tryanny will bring about massive protests however.....they better stop the CONTROL now.
    Jack C
    WA

    July 30, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  2. Jane J

    We need to kick the bums out of WAshington.
    Jane J
    WI

    July 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  3. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    Nothing can save the Newsmedia. It has been taken over by Entertainers. Networks are more interested in whats popular, whats cool, what the public wants NOW, instead of what the public need to know. The saturation of popular stories like the Jackson case just shows how low the Newsmedia has stooped.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  4. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    No it shouldn't. The media has to suck it up and survive like any other business during the recession. They are no more special than any other business is.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  5. JUDY

    NO! I do not want the government involved in 'saving' the news media. The media must remain completely independent of any potential for government control.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  6. Russ in PA

    Not at all. It shouldn't be saving anything, except the Constitution. Besides, the news media is more concerned with celebrity than news...

    July 30, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  7. Audrey Fryer

    Well, if they can find a "news" media, a helping hand (ie loan) might be alright, but to provide any help to the Infotainment channels (your's included) not so good.

    Audrey – Vancouver Island

    July 30, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  8. B. Frank, Tampa,FL

    Why was President Bush and President Clinton addressed as president but Obama is not given the same respect of the office by being addressed "President" but simply refered to by his last name?

    Rude of the news media.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Jayne

    What is this "news media" you speak of? As I recall, we went to war with a nation that didn't attack us and the only thing the "news media" did was print lies from the White House to speed up the process. Lately, the "news media" is parroting Republican talking points about health care and ignoring the citizens who are suffering. Maybe that's because the "news media" relies on advertising from big insurance and big pharma to survive. More than a great man died with Walter Cronkite.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  10. Brandon

    No! unless its spreading propaganda that harms the reputation of our government.
    Kinda like what the Republicans are doing to Barrack Obama,
    using the press to claim he is a communist, which I think is in very bad taste!

    July 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  11. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Lincoln said that w/out vision the people perish. The news media have not given us a very clear picture of events over the last 8 years, often obscuring the truth. The result has proven his point. Had the media provided the vision that is the province of the 4th estate, it would not need saving. Now it is we the people who need saving.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  12. Howard

    Hell Yes the government should be involved in saving news media. By the looks of it there is only corporate sponsored news on TV now. The newspapers just copy what was on the internet yesterday. We can get more news information from the Mexican broadcast stations – If I had only learned Spanish. I just learned that the Air Force is recruiting in Spanish. News on TV should be a stand alone business not manipulated by corporate interests.

    Howard
    Carlsbad, CA.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  13. Andy Ray

    No. The news media helped get us into this mess by spreading fear...I just like to get on here and read all the complaints by the Democrats. It makes me realize why Im Republican.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  14. Doug - Dallas, TX

    No. The news media needs to adapt to changing customers wants and needs. Otherwise, they'll be like the horse & buggy when automobiles were introduced, doomed.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  15. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Somebody needs to help keep the print media alive.......I would hate to wake up in a world where the only source of news and information in through the internet and/or the cable shows. There is something therapudic about relaxing with a newspaper and a cup of coffee in the morning.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  16. John from Alabama

    Jack: I think Dan Rather is a horse's rear end, but I am for saving newspapers who publish all sides of an issue. The media keeps us all honest at times, but there enough government commissions which do not do much for anything or anyone much less newspapers. Newspapers need to go to less days of operation and increase readership by giving more coupons for groceries and retail sales.

    July 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  17. Glen- Sarasota FL

    Saving the media from what? Acting "stupidly" by airing 24-7 hyper-coverage for days on end reporting on the gripping details of things like Michael Jackson's death and "beergate"?? Please Jack... yeah on second thought... maybe we do need some federal regulators setting limits on how much air time is given to some of these ridiculous stories!

    Glen – Sarasota FL

    July 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  18. Karen, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Hi Jack,

    The government cannot be responsible for saving everything. Media news has become "entertainment" rather than news because that is what America is demanding. Personally, I'd rather have my news from a Walter Cronkite than a Rush Limbaugh, but this is a minoraty opinion and our undereducated society demands that their news be entertaining.

    July 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  19. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    We in Canada have one particular news media (tv and radio) that has always been supplemented by the government. I personally don't watch or listen to either because of the propaganda that they spew. Government controlled news takes the freedom out of the press!

    July 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  20. Don (Ottawa)

    The founding fathers saw the value in an independent news media as one of the checks and balances needed to keep our system of government honest and responsive to the people. The fact that the news media has become tabloid entertainment is not the fault of the media, nor is it up to government to fix it. It's the fault of the people. The media provides what the people want and they want tabloid news. The ratings prove it.

    July 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  21. John from LA

    First let the government bring back the Fairness Doctrine to broadcast media, Jack.

    That would do the most to improve the quality of information people are exposed to every day–if we get rid of the endless spin that currently dominates our airwaves daily in the guise of "news".

    July 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  22. JoeHanson

    No!

    If they can't compete, let them fail.

    July 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  23. andyzag Lynn, MA

    I want to say yyes but I am becoming extremely concerned that the next step will be that the government is expected to save EVERYTHING. This is not capitalism. This is not the way a Democracy should function. If a citiizen can not pay their debts they declare bankruptcy. It's time all businesses take on the same responsibility.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  24. james in anaheim california

    Jack we have already lost our honest reporting to begin with. The dumbing down of the news which seems to be based on car chases and which celebrity broke up with who or which celebrity hooked up with who should have been the first indication of what has gone wrong. I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Rather (whom I had the disctinct pleasure of watching report the news as did Mr. Kronkite for years) something has to be done to save our news media and it reports what is going on in the world. I want to hear about the plight of the Iranian people and their battle for democracy or when the congress and senate will confirm Sotomayor to be the next supreme court judge. I do not want to hear how john (of john and kate plus 8) and his 1 million dollar apartment in new york,to me that is not news because of the fact that cheating on your wife and leaving her withe kids happens everyday. Who wants to hear that!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  25. Steve

    Jack

    What the heck does it take to have my opinion read on your show. I have noted that 85 percent of the positions/comments I have made on your blog have been later repeated or shared by many others in the media but I can't get a mention on your blogs Whats up with that??? Apparently what I have to say has merit!!!

    Steve
    Clifton, VA

    July 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  26. Simon/Orlando

    Should we have saved the buggy whip industry? The way people get their news has forever changed due to the internet. I'm a geat fan of the newpaper, but like the buggy whip industry, it has been antiquated and is not relevant to the distribution of information anymore. Government subsization would only bring the "freedom of the press" question into review.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  27. Sue from Redwood City

    No. The government has it's fingers stuck in enough pies already.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  28. Erica from New York

    "Independent media"? Puh-leeze. We lost that the day Walter Cronkite went off the air.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  29. Tami

    Why not, the government wants to be involved in everything else.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  30. Katiec Pekin, IL

    No, they should not.
    The media has brought on alot of discontent with their lack of reporting how the American people expect.
    So many show their bias, distort facts, and spend more time on
    sensationalism than reporting vital news.
    I disagree with Rather on free and independent reporting. Have not seen this for many years and it is geting worse. We are bombarded with negativity if a commentator has a different view, praise if it meets their approvial with no attempt on being fair and open.
    Facts are never checked, investigative reporting is a thing of the past.
    The media has lowered it's standards drastically and the people are just not buying it.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  31. Ken in NC

    The Government should only become involved in saving two portions of the news media. They should insure that "The Situation Room" is always available to the public for good straight forward reporting of breaking news with a slight mix of Cafferty Humor and it should insure that the "Glen Beck Show" on the other network stays on the air so the public can have good reasons to exercise the "ON/OFF Button to make sure it still works.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  32. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    There must be a systemic progression of change.

    As in nature, change is the evolving of a species, such is what is happening today with many of our current entities.

    We should let these evolutions occur naturally, in the end journalism and reporting will survive in a smaller but grander scale.

    If we are to change as a society and a culture we cannot remain the same.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  33. Jenna

    Should the federal government be involved in saving the news media?

    Save our news media? We haven't had News Media is a long time – YEARS! We have entertainment "news" by talking heads (no offense Jack)

    I would support the government promoting news, and supporting real news, we can even have a government news channel so long as it is not a propaganda channel.

    I am more interested in getting a new Fairness Doctrine inacted. I am sick and tired of all Conservative all the time! I'm not Conservative, I am a LIBERAL! I'm not alone!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    July 30, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  34. Gigi

    I hope not..because
    1. People believe that rhetoric that comes from the news sayers.
    2. What do I want Health Care, Social Security, or political news media
    3. Lower taxes or higher taxes
    4. I will not have one say in it and they will pay for it with my hard earned tax money.

    And I know there are better reason than those four above.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  35. Cortez in Rochester

    To be honest Jack, I think we should centralize our news media to CNN. Then we will not have to worry about various news outlets not doing so well.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  36. Nancy, Tennessee

    I guess we should listen to Dan Rather. He's a pretty smart guy except for that one time when he lost his job reporting on Bush's military career. Rather was around in the days when Cronkite and so many other great journalist reported the news. It is good to have several perspectives about the world we live in so those failing media outlets such as newspapers and independent journalists need a helping hand.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  37. Barbara in NC

    Depends – if it's investigative journalism, YES. We need the information.

    However, if it's 24/7 gossip and spin, NO. We don't need that at this point in time. (Noticed all the Insurance Companies that run ads on CNN – wonder where the money comes from to pay for those ads?).

    July 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  38. Remo....Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, the problem is that one person owns most of the media. How can you be professional reporting when you're trying to get the P&L?
    What we need are more independent newspapers, honest & critical reporting, and get the information delievered in words that are longer than two syllables.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  39. Tom from Philly

    OK my position will be unique. Since we still drive cars, it was worth saving the industry, but the face of news is changing papers are losing their market. Again long term sustainablility is the key

    July 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  40. Rahn Hasbargen New Brighton, MN

    Rather talks about "a truly free and independent press", then demands intervention from the very thing the press is SUPPOSED to be "truly free and independent from"-the central government. I guess Rather just wants the press to be "truly free and independent" from one thing only-accountability to the average citizen the press is supposed to protect..

    July 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  41. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Depends on the Media. Cable news (CNN included) is trending towards "national enquirer" land to get stupid America to pay attention. It might be worth having some tax payer dollars go to investigative reporting (mostly for news papers) but for now I think the private sector needs to figure this out on their own. I think in the end people need to start paying for objective news.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  42. Mike from Illinois

    While I certainly understand the importance of a free, independant and vigorous press this doesn't seem to me to be the sort of industry that would benefit from more government involvement.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  43. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    I can't see the government getting involved in a "Save the Media" campaign, that would undermine their intentions, keeping the public in the dark. Then again, don't the republican's already have a network?

    July 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  44. Ryan Kelley

    I like government in my media like I like religion in my schools.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  45. Drew

    Simply put, No!

    The independent news media should hire their own creative people to come up with new ways of reporting the news and journalism to make money or whatever it is they desire.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  46. david doherty

    Yeah something should be done, but I'm not sure if the goverment are the ones to fix the problem, it's like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. I think the education system should impress on the youth how valuable a free and independent press is and how unimportant stories like what jackson ate for his last meal are (I hope I didn't spoil CNN's next breaking news story)

    Dave from NH.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  47. Jim

    Jack Absolutely, Here in LA the corruption, nepotism, campaign slush $, outright fraud runs rampant. A few imigrants see nothing wrong with a "wink and a nod" since thats the culture they know. And long time politicians funnel cash into campaign funds and then use for personal life style expenses. The fraud and duplicity are mind boggling. If it were not for the LOS ANGELES TIMES investigative reporting it would go unnoticed and the lobbiests would have complete say on the abuse of our tax dollars. The Times is strugling to remain an "independent voice" free from profit driven constraints.
    As a public service the Times is unrivaled. Give them support!
    Jim Los Angeles

    July 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  48. George Geracimo

    No need for more subsidies. Like during the dawn of the era of radio, then network TV, then cable, all of which threatened the established media of news reporting, let nature take its course. That's why sources like BBC cable & mobile & others are growing in popularity in the face of the lightweight drivel & loop tape journalism offered up by most cable all-news networks. Cream always, eventually, rises to the top.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  49. Matt from Denver

    sure, but with what money???

    July 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  50. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Are you kidding me Jack? Let them save themselves.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  51. Stephen Fox

    NO! Absolutely NOT!

    There are bankruptcy processes–let the press|media use them.

    As for newspapers, the future of those will be *electronic newsboards*.

    "The government" has provided 'intention' enough for too many things lately...coming along to "help" (read: prolong) the problems.

    –Stephen
    Panama City, Florida

    July 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  52. honest John in Vermont

    In a word, "NO". I too mourn the death of quality newspapers and Walter Cronkite. Nationwide and the rise of trivia quasi news is an assault on anyone with half a brain.. At some point the print media will have to find a better delivery system than the newspaper and better ethics than they now currently display.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  53. Delano Quick

    I don't know. Ask Bill Maher. He knows everything.
    "Two-bit country" indeed.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  54. Jon from Tempe, Az

    I am very liberal on economic issues so I generally favor more government but on this issue I have to take deference. This country was founded on the idea of a free press. We do not have a government run news media and I think we should keep it that way.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  55. Abner in Michigan

    The government with even MORE influence in the media.... I believe its called propaganda.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  56. Dave C

    Are you kidding me?? Another sector begging for a bailout? Enough already! Either figure out how to survive in our capitalist society or be allowed to fail like everyone else. I enjoy the news, but its not a necessity of life, like medical care.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  57. Mike Longo

    Great idea, have the government give money to the media, I'm sure this would not change their freedom and ability to report on the abuses & crimes of government

    Dan is doing what he always has done, Operation Mockingbird...look into it

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  58. June-NY

    Heck no Jack. The media is already in the tank for Obama. I can imagine how bad it would be if they got money from the goverment. The media would be neither "free nor independent."

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  59. Stan

    I do not believe that the government should be involved in saving the media. If the media can't get by nowadays, it's probably time for them to go away.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  60. Ken Coombs

    Save the media??? This may not be the dumbest thing i've ever heard, but it certainly makes the short list.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  61. Eleanor, Clemson, South Carolina

    Yes, yes, yes! Newspapers are far less biased than television. Even the most biased newspapers will report both sides of the political issues. Some television media doesn't do that. Our whole political system is in trouble if newspapers disappear.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  62. Cheryl

    Please Jack?!
    Save us all from these ridiculous questions!
    Most of us don't have our hands out; what is
    Dan thinking? I had respect for him at one time.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  63. Dorothy, Kentucky

    I certainly hope the government doesn't step in to help the media. The way I see it the media is the major contributor to all the problems we are facing. The less we have the better. We don't need someone to tell us their opinon on what we should think. The media use to be valuable because they simply report. I agree with Dan Rather it has certainly been dumbed down and that's part of the reason why most people could care less.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  64. Bob Appleton

    Accepting money from the government. Now there's a good way to assure a free and independent press.

    Bob from Sterling Heights, MI

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  65. David from Ellicott City

    If we can create another BBC, by all means do so! Maybe the competition will make private news wake up.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  66. Al Meyer

    Are you freakin kidding me. Dan Rather thinks that the government should step in and save the free press? How in the world does that help the press to remain free? If the government steps in to "save" the press then we will have a government controlled press instead of the “ truly free and independent press that is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom.” I don't see how Dan can say that with a straight face. He has shown himself to be as truly socialist as the current administration. If he plays his cards right Obama might appoint him to be the Media Czar.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  67. Andrea in Toronto

    Oh, why not.... everyone else has received a bailout from the government, why not the press. The caveat should be that those in the news business should return to the unbiased, thruthful rfeporting of the facts - sans spin and interpretation. You know - the way it used to be when Walter Cronlite was around.

    Andrea

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  68. Roy Harris

    The government can't save itself. It is it's own worst enemy. Why in the world would anyone think the government can save the news media.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  69. Buddy Baker

    Jack, I've been a working journalist for 30 years. The quickest way to lose an independent media in this country is to have it underwritten by the government. It's the media's job to keep tabs on the government, and a federal bailout would create an unacceptable link that would make our reporting suspect.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  70. Irv Lilley

    Jack , The FCC should ride herd on all of the news media. The committee should find some way to make the media, and internet
    accountable for any twisted, disinformation and outright fabrications
    that are televised, or put on the web .

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  71. jean jason orlando fl

    yes with authority I think they should involve in saving news media because the government the is most safe, secure and reliable system there is. They don't look forward to harm any citizen purposely.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  72. Tom

    Jack, the government definitely needs to be involved in saving the news media. I agree 100% with Mr. Rather in that too much of the news has been commercialized. The line between real news and 'infotainment" continues to blur every day, and something needs to be done.

    Tom
    Boston, MA

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  73. Keith MacDonald

    No!! Since when do we turn to the government every time we need anything? We are Americans! If we need something done we'll do it ourselves. I don't need more of my liberties stripped from me because Dan Rather needs his job back.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  74. todd

    Mr. Cafferty

    look at the massive mess everything becomes when the Government gets involved. look at the DMV to see what national health care will look like. If the government get involved in media it will be the death of free media and government controlled media.

    Todd

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  75. Wesley - Alabama

    The media is vital to American democracy, but the government should not help save it.
    Just like the auto industry, the news media has failed to adapt and innovate in the new technology era and their failure has lead to their current, dismal financial status.
    The media even has a better case for saving than the auto industry did, but it should not be done.
    Also, the government getting involved in something that is supposedly the "4th branch" is one scary scenario.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  76. Bill

    In my 66th year of life, suddenly we the people need all this government help? Keep the government out of everything, including my pocket!!!!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  77. Helene B. Thomas

    The answer is NO. The Media has become too powerful now.
    If Obama takes on saving the Media, he will be critize for yet
    another issue. There is no news today and I fault the Dan Rathers
    who could have started a long time ago. Now that you are in deep
    trouble, there is no way to help you. Greed caused your collaspe.

    Don't add anything else to the American Taxpayer. Tell me
    Mr. Rather how much money did you give back to the Entertainment
    News?
    Helene B. Thomas

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  78. BobSchultz

    The government must have nothing to do with the free press. If government feeds the press, the press will naturally develop a bias. The mainstream media is damaged by their ownership, which looks only to make a profit from media. The free press will sprout anew on the internet.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  79. S Moses

    Jack,

    I have never responded to one of your questions before but this one was irresistible. With very few exceptions the current mainstream media is not worth saving.

    Roswell, GA

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  80. BERNADETTE STENGEL

    Mr. Cafferty: No, I don't believe the government should step in to bail out the news industry. We have many outlets, and the strongest will survive. I do agree with Mr. Rather, however, on his point about sleazy so-called journalism. I guess it's the sign of the times and the fact that there are so many news outlets.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  81. Michael

    No, the governement should stay out, any corporation helped by the federal government now owes the federal government. This would be nothing but a convienient bypassing of the first ammendment, imagine the ramifications if the federal government actually owned the media instead of just bullying them. Although someone should own Glenn Beck to keep him from talking.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  82. Matt from atlanta

    Jack,

    Dan was part of the problem before he was fired, now he wants the government to fix it...unbelievable!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  83. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    I've been saying the news media listen too much to the big oil and ceo's and POLITICIANS. There's were the news is and (MONEY) us little people don't count. Clout is where the money is. Thank you JACK I wish there were more peopole like you ans LOU, The rest are only looking for good stories, Good stories is what sells. Honest and truth is not much to talk about,,,

    July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  84. Alex in Seattle

    No, the government is involved enough in our daily lives. The way we get our news has evolved from print to radio to TV to the web and has managed to survive because it fulfills a basic human need to know what is happening. My only regret is that objective news has disappeared. People of every political perspective can find a news outlet with whom they can agree.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  85. Matt A

    I don't see why not. PBS and NPR are far more informative, investigative, and less entertainment/sensational based and they run in large part due to contributions from the federal government. The reason why it works is that it hasn't be politicized... and so long as government can fund things that are informative and investigative without pushing a certain viewpoint – like PBS and NPR have been -.. I don't see why this is a horrible idea.

    For the doubters.. especially those who things PBS and NPR are pushing a certain viewpoint.. you should go watch an hour of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and see how it compares with a lot of the crap on the 24/7 news. Yes even you CNN.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  86. Bill

    Well 'Of Course'
    Socialism requires a compliant press!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  87. Kim

    No the government shouldn't get involved. The news media is viable will have to develop a business model on their own that will bring success but it also needs to people to lead that brings success.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  88. Greta May Barnes

    I agree with Dan Rather that a free press is very essential to us. But as to the government stepping in to help, I feel it would defeat the purpose. We need good, honest reporting on every front. Keep up the good work, CNN. We listen to all the stations but feel CNN is really the 'fair and balanced' news.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  89. JIM S

    No. The news media and the newspapers failed to adjust to changing times. Let them figure out how to get out of the mess they caused.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  90. Ana

    The day the media needs saving by the government is the day the media should stop doing their job. The media should be able to fix the industry themselves... CNN are you going to step up to the challenge?

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  91. Glenn

    Well, why not? A state run media isn't that bad, is it? At least that way we would be able to depend on getting the whole truth, every time, right? I mean politicians, or "the government" never lie, right?
    Look for a truly "local" paper and buy it...or is the crossword worth more than a line on whats happening?
    This is a situation for the feds to watch but stay out of.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  92. Cindy, Johnstown, Pa.

    An independent commission is fine with me, but only if it would agree to save all the news media except Fox.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  93. Greta in Sonoma County

    Yes. The media plays a unique and extremely important role in our lives. It is also a business and thus capable of being controlled by a person or group who will then be able to control the information we receive. Everyone knows we are saying the death of investigative journalist and, for our own good, that cannot be allowed to happen. I can see only government as a possible savior and agree with Dan Rather about this.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  94. George Sweeney

    There are free-market solutions to the problems faced by the news media, they just have yet to be implemented. Perhaps government intervention may help in the short term, but a universal micropayment/subscription model like the system being set up by Stephen Brill's Journalism Online LLC, combined with a means of optimizing advertising revenue is the long-term solution. It incentivizes quality journalism without entangling the industry with the very group it's supposed to be looking over.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  95. Caroletta

    No. Even though most of the news is more commentary than just given the pure facts, the media needs to stay independent of the government.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  96. Andrea in Toronto

    (Corrected)

    Oh, why not…. everyone else has received a bailout from the government, why not the press. The caveat should be that those in the news business should return to the unbiased, thruthful reporting of the facts — sans spin and interpretation. You know — the way it used to be when Walter Cronkite was around.

    Andrea

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  97. Rebecca

    Absolutely not!!! The federal government shouldn't be involved in saving the news media. They are involed in way too much already!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  98. Peter M

    The media the way is currently constituted does not deserve saving. It has done more to confuse, divide and polarize America than anything I can imagine. The media should be left to die....

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  99. Harry Bates

    Dan Rather has been one of the main reasons people no longer trust the news media! He has demonstrated his biases time and again, the same way you have Jack!
    No, of course, I do not believe the gov't. should step in to save you or any industry that has lost it's way.
    Furthermore, Mr. Rather should just finally shut up and go away!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  100. Sully

    This would make the administration look like its losing focus on more important issues and it would just give Republicans another issue to embellish. However, someone should do something about stopping Glenn Beck.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  101. Jon

    The news media has already been lost. We don't have news, we have strategists telling us how to feel about the news. There is no objectivity and Republicans recieve the worst of it with FoxNews. At least the Democrats are smart enough to see through the obvious brainwashing!!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  102. Molly (Los Angeles)

    While I agree with Rather about the dumbing-down of the broadcast news, many of us find newspapers an out-of-date way to get up-to-the-minute news coverage. And they aren't eco-friendly.

    I believe the Internet and other contemporary ways of finding info and news are making many of us smarter. Rather is a great newsman of the old-school. And, unfortunately, this idea is old-school, too!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  103. Barbara

    We need the FCC to do it's job. Like every other regulatory body in Washington, it's been stripped of its true mission, underfunded, staffed with partisans, and kowtowing to the corporations it was designed to regulate.

    Barbara, Tucson, AZ

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  104. Tarsha

    Absolutely not! How on earth could government intervention lead to free and independent media? It's a contradiction in terms and would be a complete disaster. Leave government involvement in media to the communists.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  105. Darius

    Asolutely agree with Dan Rather. some networks goes as far as incendeary speech that promotes hate and racism. There should be consequecies if news media puts lies on the air, there should be oversight, otherwise it's just plain propoganda and cheap issue promotion.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  106. Harold , ANCHORAGE, AK

    Splendid idea if you want government control of the news: sounds like Orwell's "1984." We could rename the "New York Times": Pravada Americana

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  107. Miguel from San Leandro, CA

    It's important to keep the media and the government separate. It's important to keep religion out of government. It feels like a constitutional issue.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  108. Raymond Blais

    No. If you have any value at all you will survive on your one. Personally I hope you do, but you must understand what news reporting is. Are you out to make money or report events as they take place.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  109. Ruie - Brownstown

    Dear Jack: Absolutely not! WE should save our news media by boycotting those networks who basically don't even report the news, but merely have hour after hour of screaming heads that manufacture "facts" while they are screaming. Although, the FCC could actually start doing it's job and monitor all the falsehoods broadcast 24 hours a day.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  110. George Woywod

    Can is right about the dumbimng down of the press and the problem of corporate influence. But I fail to see how a federal commission could be of much help. Where is Izzzy Stone when we really need him?

    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  111. Annie, Atlanta

    NO. It’s no longer independent, and that’s the problem. 80% ownership by a handful of corporations has evolved into the spread of poisonous right wing propaganda to the ignorant masses. The media has become a danger to our society, sadly.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  112. Ken in Mt

    It's all part of a changing soceity. It's sad to see them in decline but we can't have an independant press and have it saved by the government. It's root hog or die out there

    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  113. Ron Rinehart

    Taxpayer dollars to save corporate slugs like Gannett? Please. When a newspaper or broadcaster cares more about shareholders than it does readers or viewers, it should die a slow and painful death. Live free or die.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  114. GM 'Grossly Misunderstood' Ford

    The only way the government should get involved is to ensure that the citizens, not news corporations, have a means to report and be heard. In this day of corporate bailouts and saviorism why should another corporation be saved? if a reporter is truly reporting for the beneft of 'us' the people then let them use an outlet that is for the people.

    As much as I respect Dan Rather as a journalist I can't help but to see this as another cry for a bailout for those that still have to make a living reporting the news.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  115. Christine Dimengo

    Um, Jack, I would ask: "Are you kidding?", but I think not. So my short answer is no.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  116. Nancy

    From So. Florida

    I so agree with Dan Rather on the deterioration of the quality of the news media. Government involvement: No on content, but Yes on
    making broadcast entities recognize the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that comes with freedom of speech. Hate speech on so many of the radio and television programs is irresponsible and does not further the conversations we must have to improve our country, economy, and lives. It plays to the uneducated and leads to crimes that are horrible in a democracy we are proud to live in.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  117. DRA

    I have been saying for a long time that we have lost the meaning of NEWS. News is reported based on occurrences, we have now moved from reporting to creating news. News anchors, especially those on Fox, barely even give their guests proper response time and input, rather they seem more eager to voice their personal opinions. We have enough IReporters now, so be prepared for the new face of news in the new age of communication tools..............let the chips fall !

    July 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  118. Bob from Virginia

    Wow!!! Where has Dan been all these years? I can see Thomas Jefferson turning over in his grave. The answer is a resounding...NEVER!!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  119. Kay, TX

    i suppose with the news media having been in bed with politics for some time now, one would feel much like a spurned lover.

    America's news media needs to regain self respect. rediscover and embrace what it was that once made you the best. start by redrawing the (no longer visible) line between news and entertainment. Decide what you want to be known for; and asking the best questions regarding presidential beer summit should not be an option.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  120. gary s

    No ,
    The goverment has absolutly no buissness trying to save the outdated liberal news media for which Mr.Rather was such a big
    part of. I do agree that all we seem to get is the Celebrity
    garbage way to much ,we should leave that trash to shows like
    the Insider or the E network .our society in general is dumbing
    down, talk to a average 21 year old and see if they know who
    FDR or Winston Churchill where? most of them don,t have a clue,
    only P Diddy , Jessic Simpson ,Brad Pitt they could write a book
    full about them. We need to start in schools, goverment can,t do
    it all.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  121. Jack Dempsey

    Jack , the only people I trust less than the Government are the news media. More Government involvement with the media would be dangerous. The Government doesn't do anything for anyone without getting more control. The only people who can save the the news media are the reporters. They should try reporting the truth and get away from the bull they keep cramming down are throats now. Jack from Nice ,Ca.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  122. LA

    NO! The news media beats every event to death. They go on adnauseum about everything and I'm ready to just disconnect my cable tv and use the tv for watching movies only. The 24/7 coverage could be drastically cut back. I miss the old days when you watched your hour of evening news, read the paper in the morning and that was it. It should go back to that. The internet will remain available for 24/7 coverage, but cut the tv crap!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  123. Walter Shamie

    Jack,

    What happened to last week's headline story reporting the arrest of three New Jersey mayors, other local government officials, and several rabbis by federal agents? Was the story 'killed' by organized crime or AIPAC? As a veteran New York newsman, I thought you would have a vested interest in this story.

    Respectfully,
    Walter

    July 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  124. Randall Jenkins

    The real question is what would the government do with unlimited access to what goes on the air verses what doesn't. I mean have you ever read the Left Behind series? In the series, the government controls the media and only publishes what they want us to know. I support independant media. If the government controled the media in Nixon's time we would have never heard of Watergate! Food for thought.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  125. Roslyn Roshell Perkins

    No, Most of MSM is owned by republican party ie Rupert Murdoch. The spews lies everyday, the best thing for our country is to see the end to MSM. Garbage in Garbage out. Don't let the door hit ya ........

    July 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  126. Roy - Chicago

    Jack, normally I would say no.....then I remembered that then-President Bush allowed major news corporations to own multiple news outlets in the same markets which was not done before. Now it is true that a few giant corporations (e.g. Clear Channel) own many competing news outlets, thereby lessening the number of independent news voices we hear everyday. This is dangerous.
    Whether you call it the liberal media or the conservative media, thank goodness we have BOTH in this country. If the government needs to help to keep that alive, so be it!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  127. James Taylor Sr.

    As publisher, for forty years of an African American newspaper in Kankakee, Illinois, and having suffered the many arrows of discrimination, but continued on because of our hard work to publish, without any federal assistance. Why should we want to help bail out those who looked down their collective noses as we went about running a newspaper on a shoe string.
    Let them get back out into the streets and learn how to run a real newspaper. Learn how to sell advertisement and not have it given to them. Let them learn how to write news that is real news and not some feel good topic focused on entertainment.
    We welcome their company, in the real world, we will even train them how to survive.
    James Taylor Sr. Kankakee City Newszx

    July 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  128. Marion/Birmingham

    No,No,No,...The tax Payer does not need to get involved in the Mainstream,biased Media's need for a bailout. If they told the truth and had more investigative reports,on the corruption of Governemnt,and the lies,and pork spending,wasteful projects,they might not need saving.... They need to take pay cuts anyway,if they want to keep working let them step up to the plate,and save themselves.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  129. Gordon

    No. The news should be just as independent of government as it should be of big business or any other special interest that journalists ought to be covering.

    CBS of the Paley/Murrow era allowed television news professionals about as much freedom to pursue and report any story (wherever it led) as this country has ever known.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  130. Harry Bates

    Jack, Guess your staff didn't approve of my previous blog...
    No, of course the gov't should not intercede.
    Mr. Rather's bias that he couldn't help but demonstrate, has been a major cause in the public's distrust of the news media!
    This same bias is now prevalent in most of the media, especially in the cable news channels!

    July 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  131. Dee in sunny Florida

    And if the government "saves" the media, wouldn't that mean the government would have a stake in what is reported? And isn't government run media a BAD thing in other countries?

    I don't think government saving the media is the right idea. And I'm not sure what IS the best idea and I don't think anyone else is either.

    But one thing is sure. We NEED the media to be free and unbiased. Without it I think we will become a poorer nation.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  132. Ellen Wagner

    I agree with Dan Rather, he will always have my respect. He tried to tell us the truth during GW's time, but no one would listen. His fellow reporters did not back him then and now they will no doubt desert him again, but we need their voices, regardless of their failure to suppport a fellow reporter. Ellen from Rescue California

    July 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  133. Marsha from Kansas

    It makes me uncomfortable to think of the press and the government as a partnership. It can only result in a less objective press. It is difficult to bite the hand that has fed you. I would like to see the print press remain strong but not at the cost of of Independence from government.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  134. Mike in Colorado

    Traditional media is history. Today the MSM consists of stenographers repeating what they are told by their corporate masters.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  135. TM

    The govenment already supports the two best and most balanced forms of news media out there... the PBS Newshour and NPR, both of which were better sources even back in "the old days" of news media.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  136. Amos

    I agree with Dan Rather, my friends and I watch the cable news networks only to see what the corporate interest are trying to distract the public with. We go online and do our own research to find what we feel is news worthy.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  137. Derek Wayne, NJ

    Let the media fail. I don't listen or believe anything the news or biased media tells me because they are basic fear mongering and negative. Federal government should only save two people, you, Jack and Wolf.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  138. joe

    What about saving the 10th amendment? This universal mandated healthcare thing is unconstitutional! far too long this government has been acting outside the law of the land, and you see the results! illegal wars, etc. time to call them out, either we are a country of laws or not...

    July 30, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  139. B Edwards

    Everyone knows that to survive in any business you need to create a product that people "Want to Buy" not the product that you "Hope to Sell". No one wants to buy the media's current product and that should be an obvious indication that they need to choose between what the market wants versus hoping to sell their personal ideology in an effert to shape public opinion rather thann report the news. A bailout would only perpetuate the current pathetic product that people obviously are no longer interested in buying.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  140. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Jack:

    Sorry if you are for this but today the media is more and more a marketing outlet for its overseers and stakeholders. Sadly the government has already set a precedent in bailing out (and we know with BIG buckets of cash) and so that will blur the iintegrity of the intention. Money taken will produce favors and obligations not in the best interst of the public. I was against the bailout, the stimulus, any follow up stimulus, and any more government on the perception of healthcare improvements.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  141. moe highland village tx

    Why not, for most of the time they are the ones that screwed it up ...

    July 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  142. rlandschoot@stny.rr.com

    Media must be saved, actually from itself. It's no longer an informative media, but one of screaming, rude correspondents who have no knowledge of common people's lives or opinions. The most hated people today are politicians and media among common people, because media, like above isn't revelant.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  143. Carol in Phoenix

    If the news medis was indeed independent maybe....but the insults, name calling and opinions are everywhere. This is NOT news. Any thing that creates a tabloid moment is played over and over and over again until it is so ingrained in our brains we can't see the truth for the trees.
    I think there will be little to no support from the American people to save any so called news media.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  144. Kari

    If the media wants to survive they need to produce a product that the market wants to buy. If you design your product to appeal to a minority segment of the market you better pick a segment that will provide enough revenue to support your business operation. Obviously they have no basic business skills. After all these people went to journalism school, not the business school.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  145. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    No, I don't think the government should interfere or bail out the media. The media needs to take care of itself, support itself, and in some cases clean up its own act.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  146. Michael Bondar

    Wilmington, Delaware

    Absolutely not. You guys dug your own graves by editorializing the news rather than reporting it in an objective manner. You killed your industry, and now you should pay the price.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  147. Kari

    Media bias is the obvious reason for the demise of the media. If you can tell which political side of the story that the presenter is on then it is not news, it's an editorial and at best will only be of interest to like minded people. If you want to control the masses you need to appeal to the masses.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  148. Lacy Lady

    Jack, I don't know if it should be the Govt saving the news media, but I feel something should be done.
    We are bambarded with so -called-news, that isn't really news.
    So many opionions are being given out as news.
    Why are people like Wolf talking to people about if they are going to run in 2012. We just elected a President. I am worn out with all this crap.
    Our president can't even have a beer without the media. I wish the media would just go away sometimes.
    During WW11, I went to the movies once a week, and got to see the news . We were much better off in those days.
    You are GREAT Jack. I don't know what CNN would do without you.
    Love you--keep up the great work.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  149. Olivia, TN

    The problem is if anyone beyond the 80% owning the majority of corporate media wants buy into the public airwaves it's next to impossible. The media is already in bed with the government and vise versa. We don't need more political appointees trying to fix what's wrong with the media. Also, if those working in media demanded: spending less time on telling us what will be coming up next segment; less ads and corporate sponsorship; a lot less opinion rather than facts; to end entertainment related material (A lot of the entertainment coverage is gossip and there are plenty of entertainment channels for those who wish to watch.); turning nothing stories into news, and so on, the media would be fine. Also, if reporters had enough reporting-related ethics (Is that still a required course for a journalism degree?) they would band together as an industry (TV, print, radio, Internet) and demand they investigate stories and report the news. That would work better than 1,000,000 committees, government appointed, or not.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  150. Paola

    Of course not!

    Last time I checked I lived in the USA with Obama as president of a capitalist democracy, not in Venezuela with Chavez as dictator in a socialized state attempting to imitate Cuba, taking over all the media and the country's private enterprise.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  151. Mike

    It's official–Dan Rather has lost his mind.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  152. James

    Freedom of the press doesn't mean that we have one. Whoever controls the media controls basically controls everything. The press utterly failed to present a challenge to Bush's Iraq war and the false pretenses that sent us there.

    July 30, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  153. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack
    I think we have reached Federal Government over kill.We even own a car company and we bail out all our friends in high places.Enough is enough.
    No we should NOT be involved in the media.
    David

    July 30, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  154. Barbara in NC

    Point -– Never-ending Michael Jackson gossip. WHO CARES?

    July 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  155. Starla Immak

    It's called trust busting. Apparently your viewers are not familiar with this. You see monopolies do not promote freedom, but rather restrict freedom. Since the media is owned by a few wealthy people who basically control what people hear. Mostly what we hear is a corporate point of view, because the media is corporately owned. What the government should do is bust the media up. They need to bust up banks, and bust up insurance companies. They need to bust up Microsoft, and the rest of the corporate monopolies that control this country. The corporations bribe our representatives and they are now corporate shills. yes. The government needs to bust them up.

    July 30, 2009 at 5:05 pm |