And Now ... A Newspaper Bailout !?
When the doors to the Federal Reserve's money vault swung wide open and the bailouts started, my fear was that the doors would never be able to close again. Although I stopped believing in the tooth fairy at the age of six, everyone else seems to expect to find free money under their pillow. Corporations, in their effort to secure welfare, remind me of the crowd in front of the Walmart store that trampled a man to death on Black Friday. It is all about greed and nothing about consequence
I was still surprised to see someone in the newspaper industry asking for a handout from the government. Brian Tierney, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, has asked Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell for a $10 million bailout for his Philadelphia Media Holdings. Tierney is currently in a tight spot because the bonds of his holding company missed their June interest payment.
The newspapers of Philadelphia are not the only newspapers with their hands out. Connecticut Assemblyman Frank Nicastro is petitioning the state government to provide funds to save the Bristol Press, covering the city of Bristol with a population of 61,000. Maybe my loyalties to Philadelphia are showing, but I do not understand the necessity of a paper serving a community of 61,000 people.
Although they have brought this cataclysm on themselves, I do have some sympathy for the newspaper industry. The internet, the invention of which nobody could have predicted, has decimated the newspaper industry. Like many others, I prefer to read by pointing and clicking for free rather than paying to get my hands dirty with newsprint so that I can read the same material. I also hate the clutter of newspapers in my house.
Although many bloggers disparage the mainstream media, I think that they are essential to preserving our democracy. Someone has to actually go out and report the news that bloggers sit home and carp about.