Flickr User: Firexbrat
Over at the old blog, I wrote that the news media, despite its problems with its business model, should not seek help from the government. To do so would be to bring American media to the level of countries we rightly criticize.
I continue to follow this topic with interest, noting during breaks in the Memorial Day celebrations that Mark Tapscott and Jeff Jarvis have published their similar positions, warning of the dangers of FTC involvement in journalism.
Tapscott outlines the issue succintly:
- Journalists must understand that there is no way the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press will survive if the federal government regulates the news industry. Those who accept at face value protests to the contrary or the professions of pure intentions by advocates of government takeover of the news business are, at best, incredibly naive.
- Journalists who remain silent or apathetic about what is being prepared for their profession become unintentional accessories in the strangulation of independent journalism.
- Journalists who support or assist, for any reason, the FTC process are accomplices in the strangulation of independent journalism.
I'd love to be able to say that there's nothing to worry about, since heavy government involvement in the news media wouldn't survive a Constitutional test. Unfortunately, all branches of government—and, more damnably, the citizens they supposedly serve—appear to care little about the powerful restraints on government power this founding document describes.
They say that citizens in a democracy get the government they deserve. As to the journalism we deserve? There's one word for a government-controlled media: propaganda.
Update 2010-06-09: Tapscott delivers a whithering update.