Newspaper Bailout on the Horizon?

Newspaper companies could be the next zombie businesses to be bailed out by the federal government if a bill introduced this week by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) becomes law.

According to a Reuters article on the “Newspaper Revitalization Act,”

Cardin’s Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.

So much for the freedom of the press. How much independence will the press have if it is continually relying on the government for its financial survival?

It would be better to simply let the inefficient papers die out or reorganize with a more efficient business model. Besides, it is not as though people no longer want news; they are just getting it from different sources like television and the Internet. So long as there is a demand for information, the free market will find a way to satisfy that demand in one form or another.