CNN’s version of the curmudgeonly Andy Rooney — Jack Cafferty — proposed aÂ 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 â€” 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 â€” which have helped other failing industries.
Rather says the stakes couldnâ€™t be any higher. He told the Aspen Daily News: â€œA truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom.â€ And he says itâ€™s not just journalists who should worry about the fate of the press; but rather every citizen.
He also talked about â€œthe dumbing down and sleazing upâ€ of what we see on the news; and blames that on the blurry line between news and entertainment â€” 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 doesnâ€™t step in and take actionâ€¦ the nation will lose its independent media.
Hereâ€™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 servedÂ 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.