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Newsflash: Print Media Is Dead

In order to save a dying Democratic PR institution, a Senator Benjamin Cardin, D-Md, proposes making the newspaper industry tax-exempt:

From the AP:

Struggling newspapers should be allowed to operate as nonprofits similar to public broadcasting stations, Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., proposed Tuesday.

Cardin introduced a bill that would allow newspapers to choose tax-exempt status. They would no longer be able to make political endorsements, but could report on all issues including political campaigns.

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

Cardin said in a statement that the bill is aimed at preserving local newspapers, not large newspaper conglomerates.

"We are losing our newspaper industry," said Cardin. "The economy has caused an immediate problem, but the business model for newspapers, based on circulation and advertising revenue, is broken, and that is a real tragedy for communities across the nation and for our democracy."

Cardin said his proposal may not be the best choice for some major newspapers, but "should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat."

Speaking on the Senate floor, Cardin added, "As local papers are closing, we're losing a valuable tradition in America -- critically important to our communities, critically important to our democracy."

The head of the newspaper industry's trade group called the bill a positive step.
John Sturm, president and chief executive officer of the Newspaper Association of America, said the proposal "recognizes changes in the law might be necessary to provide a boost to newspapers trying to weather this difficult economic period."

He agreed with Cardin that his approach may not work for all newspapers, but said the legislation is a starting point for discussions already under way on ideas to help the industry.

The association is a nonprofit organization representing the $47 billion newspaper industry and more than 2,000 newspapers in the United States and Canada.

Reports of layoffs and furloughs at newspapers around the country have become common in recent months. Gannett Co., which publishes 85 daily newspapers, announced Monday that it was asking most of its 41,500 employees to give up a week's pay for the second time this year. The same day, Advance Publications, which publishes daily papers in nearly two dozen cities, said it was ordering 10-day furloughs and a pension freeze at nearly all its daily newspapers.

So the newspapers can choose a tax-exempt status, as long as they do not publicly endorse a political candidate.

Perhaps we should just pass around a collection plate, too.

Considering most political journalism is editorializing disguised as reporting, what would be the big deal. Does anyone have any illusions as to which way the New York Times leans in its political reporting?

Cardin claims the bill to "be aimed" at local papers, and not large companies. Yet he gives no direction as to whether it will be a stated regulation that a paper has to be of a certain size or circulation status to become exempt.

The writer then goes on to give an example of an ailing outfit, Gannett Company, to show how badly they are being effected. Gannett is the largest, and perhaps most ruthless, newspaper conglomerate in the country.

The reduction in newspaper circulation has less to do with economic realities than it does with the internet. People get their information more from online sources, not only because it is easier and there are more options, but because they are seeing through the media bias as well, and are tired of being told what to think.

Most smaller, local newspapers get gobbled up by large companies like Gannett Co., so when the business gets tough, they tend to be the first to be let go.

Real journalism is dead.

Print media need look no further than inward to figure out the problem.


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Comments (25)

Ahh yes, Ben Cardin, one of... (Below threshold)
John:

Ahh yes, Ben Cardin, one of Marylands greatest liberals who helped fuck this state up so bad. You want to see what liberal dominion does...look at Maryland.

Chesapeake Bay still fouled up after they helped foul it up, skyrocketing energy prices, ranked as one the most dangerous states and one of the worst state to draw business in, and it habors one of America's most dangerous cities, Baltimore. Baltimore of course run by liberals...helmed by a liberal under criminal investigation...

Anyone know where environme... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Anyone know where environmentalists stand on this issue? Save the trees and all........

Next up ladies and Gentleme... (Below threshold)
retired milirary:

Next up ladies and Gentlemen, Bail out the newspapers they are too big to fail.

Good riddance!... (Below threshold)
914:

Good riddance!

Today, I am a Newspaper, an... (Below threshold)

Today, I am a Newspaper, and I declare myself tax exempt and welcome tax deductable contribution to keep me afloat.

Oh what an ingenious strate... (Below threshold)

Oh what an ingenious strategy to save this democrat friendly organizations. Why didn't we think of this sooner. We could have given AIG nonprofit status or Chrysler... The possibilities are endless. Don't worry, it wouldn't be a stepping stone to fascism.
http://www.rightklik.net/

They would no long... (Below threshold)
marc:
They would no longer be able to make political endorsements, but could report on all issues including political campaigns.
Watch as the unemployment rate zooms up 5% as all the so-called reporters and editorialists line-up for benefits.

However that would be a GOOD thing.

"They would no longer be ab... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"They would no longer be able to make political endorsements"

They do that now, under the guise of 'reporting'. So what will change? Besides not paying taxes COURTESY OF THE DEMOCRATS. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Save the DNC parrot, save t... (Below threshold)
bill-tb:

Save the DNC parrot, save the DNC parrot, Whaaack, whaaack ...

Does anybody actually listen to PBS anymore?

"We are losing our newspape... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

"We are losing our newspaper industry," said Cardin.

Yes, we are. They think news is about compiling stories, waiting for the plant to print, and then when it comes out in a six hour period, it is as dated as a basket full of one day old oysters when it hits the street.

News is not about printing, paper, and manual delivery; it is about getting information to consumer's as quickly as possible.

If newspapers want to go electronic, get on line, constantly update the news, and create a good profitable economic model; good for them.
If they don't, we will be sweeping them off the street like so much horseshit when the car replaced the horse and carriage.

What Senator Cardin doesn't... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

What Senator Cardin doesn't get is that the newspaper business is not the same as the news business. The newspaper business came into existence because of a technological invention called the printing press and it's going out of business because of another technological invention called the internet. People want news in a format where they can access just the parts they are interested in, and at a time of their choosing. That's something newspapers do that broadcast media never could, and that's why TV didn't kill the newspaper business. But now the internet comes along and it can not only do what was unique to newspapers, but go beyond the limits of that technology by adding audio, video, interaction, and search ability.

What Senator Cardin doesn't understand is that the only reason newspapers still exist is because a number of people have been slow to adapt the new technology, but that number is shrinking every day. Apart from the usefulness of the paper itself, there's nothing the newspaper technology can do that can't be done better and cheaper by the internet technology.

What Senator Cardin doesn't comprehend is that even giving the newspaper business tax exempt status won't solve the problem. With shrinking readership the revenues drop to a point where they won't even cover the production costs associated with producing the newspaper let alone paying staff.

What Senator Cardin does get is that the centralization of the news source is an artifact of the printing press technology. That technology made the person in control of the printing press in control of the news, and thus, each community, city, and nation gets their news through a few self-appointed editors. It happens that Senator Cardin sees the importance of the news having a left leaning bias. Luckily, his efforts are doomed to fail.

This idea is insane, let th... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

This idea is insane, let the papers die already.

Following up on Mac's point... (Below threshold)

Following up on Mac's point, non-profit does not mean non-profitable. Non profit organizations still need to be profitable on a cash flow basis if they expect to live. Not paying taxes on income doesn't matter if you don't have any income (and if you are going 'huh?', income and revenue are not the same thing). Newspapers aren't dying because they pay too much in taxes on the income they make, they're dying because they are losing money... and non-profit status doesn't change that.

And not to single Cardin out, but it doesn't surprise me that a Senator doesn't know this.

The newspaper business is a... (Below threshold)
davidt:

The newspaper business is a business for profit, through advertising revenue. Are there any tax exempt profit seeking businesses in this country?

Speaking on the Senate floo... (Below threshold)
Trump:

Speaking on the Senate floor, Cardin added, "As local papers are closing, we're losing a valuable tradition in America -- critically important to our communities, critically important to our democracy."

***

Imagine if we had this congress in the dying days of the buggy whip? We'd all still be in horse-drawn carriages

In other news, Congress to ... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

In other news, Congress to bail out buggy whip manufacturers.

It would appear liberalism ... (Below threshold)
914:

It would appear liberalism is an abhorrent failure in a free society. like mixing oil with water. All You end up with is a big mess.

It's a stupid bill.<p... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

It's a stupid bill.

It isn't the taxes on their profits which are driving newspapers out of business, it's that THERE ARE NO PROFITS! The papers which are closing are those LOSING MONEY. They spend more than they take in, and pay no corporate income taxes because they have no net income.

Advertising is already a tax-deductible business expense, so there is nothing to offer advertisers, either. Nothing in this bill addresses the fact that the failing newspapers are just not attractive enough for advertisers or readers to spend their money upon.

The ONLY effect of this legislation would be to throw huge sums of taxpayer money to the newspaper industry, a government action made "necessary" by the refusal of businesses and individuals to spend their money on newspapers voluntarily.

This moron, Maryland, is who you chose over Michael Steele to represent you. You racist bastards!

I was in retailing at one t... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

I was in retailing at one time when print media was at it's peak. But now, advertising in print media is way down so much that it's dooming many publications such as newspapers. And look at popular magazines as well. In the 60's and 70's a popular magazine like PLAYBOY could count on VW, stereo and motorcycle manufacturers to buy so many ads that many issues were well over 300 pages. Even the Catholic Church bought ads in PLAYBOY at one time seeking young men to become priests because circulation among single young men was once so high. Now, so few advertisers exist that most issues barely top 120 pages. And likewise many other magazines are suffering as well. Newspapers and magazines are in a real tailspin right now.

Spear makers, makers of the... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Spear makers, makers of the ox-drawn plow, and T-Rex wranglers are all lamenting how progress has left them behind...

Ever notice "Progressives" usually don't like anything that actually, you know, makes progress?

Yes, damn those progressive... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Yes, damn those progressives. Abolishing slavery; women's suffrage; the Civil Rights Act; labour unions (back when they were absolutely necessary and yet violently opposed); volunteering to fight Franco in Spain while the rest of the "free" world gave him carte blanche to crush democracy...

What have progressives ever done for anybody?!

How many trees are chopped ... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

How many trees are chopped down to print all that SAVE THE EARTH bull kaka

Flu-Bird, are you Glenn Bec... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Flu-Bird, are you Glenn Beck?

Abolishing slavery<b... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Abolishing slavery
Of what party was the President during that period?

Women's suffrage
What was the first political party to adopt women's suffrage as a platform?

the Civil Rights Act
Which party championed this act and which party fought against it?

labour unions
Labor unions began as completely non-partisan, so we'll leave this one out.

So who are you calling "progressives"?

Have you seen the movie FLU... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

Have you seen the movie FLU-BIRDS yet? Im the handsome one on the front cover on the DVD i went and et a liberal and im barfin up his eyeball kaahhaacckkk




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