"I can hardly believe that the Washington Post would publish an editorial asking for a taxpayer bailout of newspapers," said host Stuart Varney. "Tell me I should not be shocked."
Varney, said Gainor, shouldn't be surprised, since the editorial was "pegged to a report that came out by former editor Len Downey calling for exactly that same thing." Gainor explained that industry insiders and liberals, along with some on Capitol Hill are either desperate to save journalism jobs or salivating at the prospect of exercising greater control over the media. "You've got both houses of Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC all looking at the future of journalism and all trying to get their hooks into it."
The reasons for demanding government help are, as the Business & Media Institute found in a brand new Special Report titled "The Great Newspaper Bailout," is that journalism, particularly of local journalism, is a public good, and that in other democracies the news media is far more lavishly underwritten by taxpayers.
"They're trying to do this two different ways," Gainor told Varney. "On one hand, they want to save the old media - you know, protect their current jobs. But if that doesn't work, they want to make sure that they dump a whole bunch of money into new media, and use what they call the existing infrastructure of things like NPR and PBS and plow money into them." So much so, Gainor said, that some have called for a 4,700 percent increase in funding for public media.
Asked to handicap the likelihood of success in these bailout efforts, Gainor put it at 50 - 50. "When major media outlets are involved in this, this is not a minor thing that some rinky-dink left wing think tank is pushing."