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Columbia U.’s Bollinger Oblivious on MSM Bailout

Wrong, Mr. Bollinger: academic freedom has in fact been drastically compromised by government funding. The same would, of course, happen with media.

by
Frank J. Tipler

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July 17, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Columbia University’s President Lee Bollinger wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal advocating government subsidies of the MSM. Bollinger points out, correctly, that revenues of print newspapers and the broadcast media are declining rapidly. The MSM are indeed being bankrupted by new media and internet advertising. He argues (naturally, since he is writing his op-ed for a print newspaper) that this is a bad thing — depriving the American people of the knowledge they require to be good citizens.

His argument is so obviously false that he himself, in his own article, cannot avoid providing the facts needed to refute it. For example, Bollinger writes:

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research. Those of us in public and private research universities care every bit as much about academic freedom as journalists care about a free press.

Yet — through a carefully designed system with peer review of grant-making, a strong culture of independence, and the protections afforded by the First Amendment — there have been strikingly few instances of government abuse. Indeed, the most problematic funding issues in academic research come from alliances with the corporate sector.

This is observably false. Presently, the “most problematic funding issues in academic research” come from government funding of climate research. The evidence is overwhelming that this “research” is largely fraudulent, and the fraud is driven by the fact that one can get funding from the government only if one has a track record of obtaining the results that the government wants.

Bollinger also writes:

American journalism is not just the product of the free market, but of a hybrid system of private enterprise and public support. By the middle of the last century, daily newspapers were becoming natural monopolies in cities and communities across the country.

Yes indeed, the middle of the last century is when daily newspapers started to become natural monopolies. This is when there began to be only one newspaper in a city. This is also when the single newspaper in town started to not print any facts that would damage powerful politicians in town.

On the national scale, we now know that the newspaper and broadcast reporters knew John F. Kennedy jumped into bed with virtually anyone wearing a skirt. The reporters and editors also knew that if the American people learned about Kennedy’s behavior, he was finished as a senator — to say nothing about his chances of being elected president. So these worthies kept the information from the American people.

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