Washington Times: FTC floats Drudge tax
If it weren’t for the backlash at the government bailouts for the insurance, banking, and auto industries I’m certain that the Obama administration would have turned the spigot back on for the NYT and other ailing journalistic dinosaurs. Since that’s not politically viable, our government is looking for other ways to save media, and all of them involve more government.
The ideas being batted around to save the industry share a common theme: They are designed to empower bureaucrats, not consumers. For instance, one proposal would, “Allow news organizations to agree jointly on a mechanism to require news aggregators and others to pay for the use of online content, perhaps through the use of copyright licenses.”
In other words, government policy would encourage a tax on websites like the Drudge Report, a must-read source for the news links of the day, so that the agency can redistribute the funds collected to various newspapers.
Of course no one likes new taxes, but that’s not nearly the worst of it. It’s one thing for government to kind of throw money in the direction of mainstream media establishments, but it’s quite another for government to step in and start writing individual paychecks to journalists:
The report also discusses the possibility of offering tax exemptions to news organizations, establishing an AmeriCorps for reporters and creating a national fund for local news organizations.
Yeah, that’s what we need. An army of government-employed journalists.