Belmont Club

Gray lady down

It couldn’t happen in the US. Or could it? Some European governments have decided to pay journalist’s salaries. The Guardian reports:

On a visit to Amsterdam today, Dutch media minister Ronald Plasterk outlined his scheme to fund two “government journalists” to work on each of the Netherlands’ 30 or so daily newspapers. …

He said the decision had been reached as young journalists were often the first to lose their jobs when cuts were made and the current economic climate in the Netherlands was one of decreased circulations and revenue from ads.

Plasterk’s move has echoes of French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s pledge to provide €600m (£565m) in emergency aid to his nation’s failing press industry and supply every 18-year-old with a year’s free subscription to the paper of their choice to boost reading habits. …

In March this year, culture secretary Andy Burnham ruled out the possibility of the British government providing state subsidies to beleaguered local newspapers, despite voices across the industry – including Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, part of the group that publishes MediaGuardian.co.uk – calling for alternative forms of funding to be considered.

Or is it a question not of if, but when a bailout will be announced for the press?

Blow all tanks. Close all hatches. Deploy the DSRV. But will it be enough? European demographics have collapsed. They can’t rescue anyone for long; their welfare state system is subject to an even greater degree than Social Security to the relentless pressure of population arithmetic. They are retreating to an ever smaller corner of a flooding hull. With the end of the old media model in sight, and with the momentum towards printing money building all over the West, the challenges from radical Islam, China and Russia cannot be far behind. Washington’s politicians are losing, if they have not lost, the bulk of their credibility. The media is losing, or has lost the ability to persuade. The bulkheads are going to start giving way, first singly, then in pairs and then cascading like dominoes. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon unless people wake up.

They can bail out the newspapers for now. But what will they do for an encore? (Spoiler: the sub’s crew is rescued in the movie)

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