Dem Bill Gives Special Tax Handout to Media Companies with Up to 1,500 “Local Journalists”

Source: Americans for Tax Reform.

Taken at face value this looks very bad — a direct federal subsidy to media organizations. Since journalism is the main watchdog of government, both the appearance and the reality of conflict of interest could not be more egregious.

Still, one shouldn’t be surprised. Media and government have had a fist-in-glove relationship for as long as both have existed. The only thing new in modern times is the emergence of industrial-scale mass media and the technology of psychological operations. Think last century’s propaganda methods and their implementation by Madison Avenue.

One should, however, notice that the proposed federal subsidy of media is an anti-liberty event. It is the sort of thing our First Amendment was created to stop.

10 thoughts on “Dem Bill Gives Special Tax Handout to Media Companies with Up to 1,500 “Local Journalists”

  1. The sorry economic state of local journalism is a very real threat to the quality of local government. Trying to spin this sensible tax break into an “anti-liberty event” is an absurd stretch. IMHO.

    I see that NPR is singled out for special opprobrium in this article. Laughable. But only goes to show that reality has that well-known liberal bias. But do not worry, many of the organizations likely to benefit from this subsidy are safely in “conservative” hands like the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Progress happens. Dead tree journalism is going the way of the buggy whip.

      But now the Democrats are rushing in to prop it up. Just what we need, state controlled media, our own Pravda.


      1. Dead tree journalism?

        Uh, I believe that this is not just about print media. TV and Radio stations are also to get help in supporting journalists.

        Once again we have an example of how the market can fail to yield the best outcomes. It is cheaper for local outlets to use syndicated material to wrap around their ads than to carry the cost of producing coverage of local government and local news. If we let the market alone decide, pretty soon there will be nobody left to cover local news and events. City councils, School boards, Mayors, Assessors, businesses, etc. will be able to operate without meaningful public scrutiny. Not good.

        There is nothing about editorial control in any of this. Your hypothetical fears are not evidence that this is anything like Pravda in the making.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. RE: “Trying to spin this sensible tax break into an ‘anti-liberty event’ is an absurd stretch.”

      What’s absurd about it? The conflict of interest is obvious.

      Given a choice between state-controlled media and no media, I’ll take no media.


        1. The proposal is about government “paying” for journalists. It is impossible to see how a free press can operate under those circumstances.


          1. Religious organizations are also First Amendment beneficiaries and they are subsidized. Yet, we have no state church.

            The founders knew how critical the nascent governmental experiment would be on information among the electorate. That guiding principle trickles down to local media.

            Locally a lot of problems in government and businesses have been exposed by local press. That is disappearing and nothing can readily replace it. It takes years of experience, lots of well established contacts and money to do proper investigations.

            Sports scores, weather, stock markets and obits are not what the First Amendment was written for. We want every government official to wonder who is watching and gathering information. Everyday and every hour.

            We lose local media, we lose oversight. And as we debate, local media is being taken over by investment companies like Alden Capital. And they have the same playbook for each paper they bought. Strip assets, sell real estate, fire newsrooms, then raise subscription fees until people drop them and close down.

            Keeps pesky investigating reporters from doing their jobs.

            Finally, we already have a nation in which about 1/2 of us cannot name all three branches of government. We can’t afford to get any dumber, as in uninformed.

            Liked by 2 people

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