Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Would Tom Paine have taken a check from George Trey?

Most places I've lived, newspapers have been exempt from sales tax, due to the First Amendment stricture against the .gov interfering with the freedom of the press. (I note that the existence of the Second Amendment didn't prevent, not only a local sales tax, but a federal excise tax on guns and ammo, but I digress...)

Now the FTC has released a white paper about "reinventing journalism." That's right, the .gov has come right out and expressed interest in "reinventing" one of the very things with which they are Constitutionally prohibited from diddling. They have no more business "reinventing" journalism than they do reinventing religion, or ordering you to put the Third Armored Division up in your guest bedroom for the night.

Of course, it's been a long time since the Bill of Rights was seen as anything other than a soft and absorbent thing by Congress; something prime time television DA's skirt with a wink and a nod so that they can more efficiently catch the bad guys.

So where will the Journalism Stimulus money come from? Well, in addition to borrowing it from the Chinese or just printing it out of thin air, the paper examines additional sources of funds it can use to prop up failing newspapers:
In one section, the FTC looks at licensing the news: having ISPs levy a fee on us that the government then dolls out to its selected news purveyors — call that the internet tax. It’snothing but a tax and it would support incumbents surely. In another section, it examines the aforementioned iPad tax; a tax on the broadcast spectrum; a spectrum auction tax; a tax on ISPs and cell phones; and a tax on advertising (brilliant: taking a cut of the last support of news in America).
Actually, Mr. FTC, for the services that Big Media provided for your boss, it's more customary to just leave a twenty on the bedside table.

12 comments:

og said...

A twenty?

It is, frankly, refreshing to know you have no idea what the going rates are.

I used to love a newspaper. I really did. Mencken is spinning in hs grave at about 3200 rpm by now.

Tam said...

"A twenty?

It is, frankly, refreshing to know you have no idea what the going rates are.
"

Have you read a newspaper lately? :D

og said...

lol. No, thanks be to God.

Nathan said...

One of the things I could not get used to in Maryland was that they charged sales tax for newspapers.

Which is one reason I don't read the papers there anymore.

Joanna said...

Why the hell did I major in this bullshit? Why not chemistry or physics? I was good at chemistry. At least then I'd be useful after the apocalypse.

TJP said...

Who should I contact at the Fair Trade Commission regarding the unfair trade practice of granting drilling rights to companies based on political contributions?

perlhaqr said...

Yeah, because what we need right now is media outlets that are even bigger shills for the government.

I dunno. Maybe I can scrape together enough optimism to think that maybe if everyone knew they were being paid directly by the feds, people would be less likely to believe them.

theirritablearchitect said...

So, the .gov is "reinventing journalism."

I wonder if that is similar to reinventing the wheel.

Just about time for a breaking out the knives.

BobG said...

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."
-Thomas Jefferson


"As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it."
- Dick Cavett

Anonymous said...

Og:

only 3200 rpm?

cap'n chumbucket

Ken said...

Now figuring out how not to comply. No sense waiting around.

Jenny said...

Maybe I can scrape together enough optimism to think that maybe if everyone knew they were being paid directly by the feds, people would be less likely to believe them.

NPR
PBS
BBC - "free of commercial or political bias"



still feel optimistic?

:)