Bryan Fischer
Libs flail about trying to save dinosaur media
By Bryan Fischer
June 4, 2010

The Federal Trade Commission has set itself to the task of saving media outlets that nobody wants to pay attention to anymore.

The FTC is doing this for one reason: liberals are desperately afraid of losing their compliant stenographers and press agents.

A 35-page "staff discussion draft" of "potential policy recommendations," as reported by Jeff Jarvis, mentions the term "blog" only once. The FTC staff is obviously stuck in the last century.

According to Jarvis, here are some of the taxpayer funded gems in the FTC's effort to breathe the breath of life into papers like the New York Times, which is bleeding from an artery:

* Expanding copyright law and restricting the doctrine of fair comment to benefit legacy publishers.

* Granting antitrust exemptions to allow publishers to collude on pricing to consumers and to business partners.

* Giving news organizations tax exemptions.

* Subsidizing news organizations by increasing government funding to public broadcasting; establishing an AmeriCorps to pay reporters; giving news companies tax credits for employing journalists; creating a national fund for local news, and giving the press an increased postal subsidy.

Who will pay for all this? Why, you and I will, every time we buy an iPad, and iPod, a netbook, or a notebook.

So the staffers speculated about what I'll dub the iPad tax — a 5 percent surcharge on consumer electronics to raise $4 billion for news. They also consider a tax on broadcast spectrum and even on advertising.

Most bizarrely, the FTC is thinking about giving the dinosaur media a copyright on certain "facts." You borrow one of their "facts" without paying for it, the boot of the government will be placed on your neck.

As Jarvis explained:

Most dangerous of all, the FTC considers a doctrine of "proprietary facts," as if anyone should gain the right to restrict the flow of information just as the information is opening it up. Copyright law protects the presentation of news but no one owns facts — and if anyone did, you could be forbidden from sharing them. How does that serve free speech?

Apparently what the FTC never bothered to consider is that nobody is depriving the old media of their freedom of speech. They themselves are shooting themselves in the kneecap by presenting everything through a tired and increasingly boring statist and secular fundamentalist worldview. People just don't want to watch or read their drivel anymore. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, if people aren't gonna buy their papers, who's gonna stop 'em?

Thumbs down to the FTC on this one, and a big thumbs up to the First Amendment. The press is hardly "free" if every American is forced to subsidize government-favored outlets under threat of incarceration.

You'd think that folks who believe in Darwinian evolution would be celebrating the survival of the fittest, and recognizing that nature weeds out its weakest members so that the next and higher stage of development can be achieved. But the Neanderthals at the FTC are apparently opposed to progress, whether of the evolutionary or competitive kind.

The beauty of the internet is that it has expanded freedom of the press in ways no one could have imagined just 15 years ago. We have more freedom of the press now than at any point in our history. The flailing about of the FTC is simply an indication of the frustration of statists because people aren't getting their news from government-compliant and elitist-approved outlets anymore, and they apparently believe somebody needs to make them.

Statist and liberals hate democracy and freedom because they empower ordinary individuals to exercise choice in ways of which The Superior Ones disapprove. I say let's hear it for a truly free press. Power to the people.

© Bryan Fischer


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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