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CNN: Jack Cafferty presents Dinosaur Dan Rather's dreams of socializing the news

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Posted on July 30 2009 2:16 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here

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CNN’s version of the curmudgeonly Andy Rooney — Jack Cafferty — proposed a  question today during Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room. He reported that former CBS anchorman Dan Rather was arguing that it’s time for government to “bail out” the struggling news media:

The news media are fighting to survive — and Dan Rather thinks the government should help rescue them. The former CBS anchorman is calling on President Obama to create a White House commission to help save the press.

Dan Rather believes journalism has declined to a point that it is time for the government to intervene.

Rather says such a commission could make recommendations on saving journalism jobs and creating new business models to help the industry survive. He says there are precedents for this kind of national commission — which have helped other failing industries.

Rather says the stakes couldn’t be any higher. He told the Aspen Daily News: “A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom.” And he says it’s not just journalists who should worry about the fate of the press; but rather every citizen.

He also talked about “the dumbing down and sleazing up” of what we see on the news; and blames that on the blurry line between news and entertainment — along with corporate and political influence on newsrooms. He claims about 80-percent of the media is controlled by a handful of corporations.

Rather also talks about the decline in investigative and international reporting; and says the loss of reporters covering the two ongoing wars hurts our nation.

The bottom line as he sees it: If somebody doesn’t step in and take action… the nation will lose its independent media.

Here’s my question to you: Should the federal government be involved in saving the news media?

It’s a simple answer: absolutely not.

It’s not at all surprising that Rather would come up with a “solution” like this to a “problem” that doesn’t even exist. Rather has a long history of promoting left-wing causes and taking shots at the Right. The infamous “memogate” is only the most prominent example of when he used his journalistic perch to take a shot at the GOP.

But to answer Cafferty’s question again: no, there’s no need for a government bailout to insure that a free press survives in this country. Rather demonstrates again just how truly reactionary the Left actually is.

Put simply, the media isn’t dying. It’s changing. The media of Rather’s age — daily newspapers and Walter Cronkite as the nation’s “authoritative” voice — is being replaced by something else, namely the Internet and the blogosphere.

If a traditional newspaper that has long served  a community has failed then one doesn’t need a government bailout to replace it with something better. A small group of friends can easily start publishing their own newspaper online at a fraction of the cost that the big dinosaur of a newspaper was doing it.

This issue here shows one of the differences between the Left and the Right. How does the dinosaur of the Left approach a problem? More government. How does the evolved conservative approach it? Encourage individuals to take the steps they need to provide a public service to their community and maybe even make a profitable little business as well.

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