(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
President Obama is open to the idea of bailouts for the struggling newspaper industry.
The president says although he hasn't seen detailed proposals, he'd be happy to look at bills before Congress meant to aid newspapers. One bill in the Senate, known as the Newspaper Revitalization Act, would give tax breaks to newspapers if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.
In an interview with the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Toledo Blade - The president calls himself a "big newspaper junkie," and says that good journalism is "critical to the health of our democracy."
He talks about the challenge of maintaining journalistic integrity and fact-based reporting in the light of a changing news landscape. Mr. Obama says he's concerned about the trend toward more blogs that have a lot of opinions but not much fact-checking.
And there's no question that newspapers are a dying breed... Thousands of journalists have been laid off and several newspapers have been closed in the last few years. The industry is also reeling from the economic downturn; trying to find a way to hold onto readers while newspapers lose advertising revenue to the Internet.
But the government propping up the newspaper industry could be a very slippery slope, as it could very easily put the press "in bed" with the very people they are charged with protecting us from - the government.
Here’s my question to you: Should the government bail out the newspaper industry?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Jon from Fort Worth, Texas writes:
Lord, no. Their time has come and gone. Never before has the term "yesterday's news" applied to anything the way it applies to newspapers today. That being said, I still love having them in my hands, reading them at my leisure.
Did we bail out Linens N’ Things or Circuit City or the thousands of small businesses that went belly up? If we truly believe in the free market, then let it work. Businesses fail because of flawed business plans, including not adapting to current market conditions.
James from New York writes:
Allowing the newspapers to restructure to save themselves isn't exactly a "bailout." It sounds to me as if the president is simply willing to listen to constructive proposals for saving responsible journalism as an institution essential to democracy. And anyway, if the economy is in trouble, then why should journalism be denied the help other types of business get? Journalists are citizens too.
Victor from Kiev, Ukraine writes:
Absolutely not. Here in Ukraine, lots of newspapers are owned by government structures, and you know what? Nobody reads those newspapers!
Newspapers are like a species confronted by massive change. Their choice is to evolve or die; it's rather Darwinian, survival of the fittest. News and information are still things that people want, what has to evolve is the "delivery system." Paper newspapers are dinosaurs; they should have to live or die on their own without outside intervention. The government has no business trying to preserve a status quo that no longer exists.
Jack, Can you say "obsolete"? Why would we keep an outdated medium on life support? We do not need the news to come to us on paper anymore. The nimble should migrate to other news media and the lame should retool.