Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obama Would Consider Tax Breaks For Newspapers

Let me start by saying that I still believe that newspapers are a critical component of the free press that plays such an important part in our democracy. And that we should be supporting our local newspapers - because - without them - so much news that affects us directly goes uncovered or under-covered. But I draw the line when it comes to the government giving newspapers tax breaks. Something that President Obama says he'll now give serious consideration.

Here's my thinking. Newspapers - and the news media in general - needs to be separate free from government influence. Once a newspaper accepts a tax break its owners could feel beholden to the very government that is helping keep it afloat. That's the last thing we need in this great nation. We need a free and unfettered press, willing to dig, question and reveal the good, the bad and the ugly in government. That means newspapers need to critically report on government.

Even if a newspaper doesn't feel influenced as a result of taking money, the very appearance of pressure from government erodes public confidence in its reporting.

This may be well intentioned legislation that's being proposed. But it's ill advised. The president's stance should be that he'll veto it if it comes to his desk. Read More Here


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see where you are coming from, Gary. But, I don't think the government would harm the independence of newspapers by cutting their taxes. The goal would be to help them make the transition to nonprofits, as opposed to the transition to being out of business. If it's a short-term program, it would be good for America (and great for people like me).

James Melton