Welcome to Venezuela: FTC Proposes Federalizing Newspapers, and Killing off Blogs

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Writing at Business Insider, Jeff Jarvis describes the
next stage of the administration’s systematic obliteration of the Constitution: federalizing newspapers and
killing blogs
. The Federal Trade Commission has posted its "potential policy recommendations
to support the reinvention of journalism
", which is
not only an unprecedented federal overreach, but truly a repudiation of
the First Amendment

Consider what Jarvis calls ‘the iPad tax’ — a 5% fee on
all consumer electronics — which is intended to raise $4 billion a
year. That money would be spent on government-funded news.

The Implications of Government-Funded News…

…are well nigh
horrifying. Not only does the FTC propose "circling the wagons" around
old media — The New
York Times
, The
Washington Post
and the like — the financial lifeline
supplied by the federal government would also serve as a leash. If you
thought old media was aligned with the mission of the Democrat Party
before, just wait until it’s dependent upon the feds for salaries and

The FTC Suggests Killing Blogs to Bolster Newspapers…

a series of bizarre policy recommendations that are predicated upon the
following conclusion:

[N]ewspapers have not yet found a new, sustainable
business model, and there is reason for concern that such a business model may not
emerge. Therefore, it is not too soon to start considering policies that
might encourage innovations to help support journalism into the future.

"journalism", the FTC means "newspapers" and by "encourage
innovations" the FTC means stifle competition. Among the FTC’s

• Tightly limit what search engines and news
aggregators (like Drudge Report) are allowed to report;

Potentially define certain kinds of news reports as "proprietary facts"
rather than events in the public domain;

• Rather than protect
consumers against price-fixing (one of its missions), the FTC rallies
around antitrust exemptions for newspapers that could help them
monopolize news distribution;

• Redistributing wealth from
individual taxpayers to old media, which would serve to bolster the
coffers of newspapers while simultaneously reducing journalistic
independence and truly creating a "state-run media".


Jarvis concludes that the real problem with the FTC’s
position "is the alignment of the legacy institutions of media and
government. Here, the internet is not the salvation of news, journalism,
and democracy. It’s the other side."

I think Jarvis is naive:
this is nothing less than a sinister, diabolical effort to shred the
First Amendment and create a state-run media complex designed to report only
what the government wants reported

This is an utterly
ominous development and one that
should remind readers why this President embraces dictators like Hugo Chavez. He seems to
envy the control that dictators exercise over their subjects.

he seeks to emulate them.

Labels: Crime, Democrats, Obama

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