Recently the Federal Trade Commission released a report called: “Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism”, which they have been working on this since May of last year. The excuse used for this major government involvement is to rescue the country's failing media platforms -- specifically newspapers, where advertising revenues have dropped roughly 45 percent since 2000.

Reading the document I can not understand how the recommendations would help newspapers currently in business.

What I did find in the “draft” copy were proposals for a 5 percent tax on consumer electronics, which they believe would generate roughly $4 billion annually, to pay for increased public funding for:

  1. Creation of a "journalism" division of AmeriCorps. I don’t see any help here.

  2. Increased subsidies to the post office for delievery of newspapers and periodicals. Depending on how much it will reduce the cost to the actual newspapers and periodicals, if any the “help “ may be limited.

  3. Increased funding for public radio and television. I don’t see any help here.

  4. Tax credits to news organizations for every journalist employed. Because most credits can only be taken if the company has taxable income, the credits would be of no value to non-profit organizations and limited value to very low taxable income profit organizations.

  5. Provide grants to universities to conduct investigative journalism. I don’t see any benefit to local and regionial newspapers here.

  6. Provide American taxpayers vouchers to allocate government funds to a non-profit media organization. I don’t see any benefit to local and regionial newspapers here.

  7. Expansion of the Copyright Act to cover internet bloggers and online posters use of data they gathered from other news sources. This could have a major impact on internet posters and bloggers, because they would have to seek permission before using the data from the orginal source.

  8. Allow SBA loans for non-profit news media organizations. May encourage more for profit companies to become non-profit to survive.

  9. Eliminate the law that prohibits the rebroadcast of government-funded international news in the United States. This major “change” supports broadcast of “Voice of America” and “Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty” in the United States-- whose reporting and operations is under the complete control of the federal government. Looks like a federal nationalized news network to me and I don’t know how this will help current struggling media organizations.

What I see in these “Drafted” proposals is a bigger expensive government program and reduction in the current number for profits news media corporations like the “Advocate”. We will see more central government control of the news media by supporting non-profit media organization that cannot stand alone on their donations alone and cannot compete with the free enterprise news media companies/corporations. It also appears the government could indirectly destroy freedom of the press by controlling the news media by penalizing non-profit media through delay of funds or reduction of funds when they publish a story against the party in power.

I believe less government regulation of the news media, a reduction in federal fees and reducing income taxes for “freedom of speech” news media organization would provide a stronger nation. A flat ten per cent tax on profits sounds good to me to “Support the Reinvention of Journalism”.