Wayne Root: ‘Let Newspapers Fail!’

Bailout of Newspapers Threatens Free Speech and Editorial Independence.

Bailouts Constitute “Legal Bribery.”

By Wayne Allyn Root, Author
“The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts”

Members of Congress have recently suggested that the federal government should undertake a billion dollar newspaper bailout. President Obama seems interested. Really? Why? Because the other bailouts worked out so well? Congressional investigators recently disclosed their doubts that AIG will ever be able to payback it’s government loans. At the same time, economists suggest that at least $20 billion of the government loans to U.S. automakers are lost forever. GM and Chrysler now constitute a $100 billion welfare program, that just happens to sell cars (that no one wants). Meanwhile the economy continues to flounder despite the $800 billion economic stimulus package (a bailout to more fat cat corporations and Obama contributors). This disaster just keeps on growing (because government is involved).

Now we’re discussing billion dollar government loans to newspapers? Who suggested that idea? Let me guess- perhaps newspaper publishers whispered in the ears of Democratic Senators and Congressmen who have accepted their contributions and editorial endorsements over the years. And what did they promise in return for a bailout? More contributions? More endorsements? Did they promise favorable news coverage of the pet programs of Obama and the Democratic Congress? Perhaps they promised negative news coverage (or complete blackouts) of the massive Tea Party rallies and protests gathering steam across America. Isn’t that called “pay for play?” Doesn’t the idea of newspaper bailouts threaten the very image of media impartiality and independence? Who is going to report on this scandal, if the entire media is compromised by one political party?

Bailouts are symbolic of government at its worst- showcasing incompetence, corruption, favoritism and arrogance. Let’s start with the simple idea that this is all unconstitutional. The Constitution bans government from getting involved in private enterprise- PERIOD. But setting aside that little problem, common sense alone should result in the banning of any more bailouts. Darwin was correct with his “survival of the fittest” philosophy. The free market and consumers should best determine who survives and who thrives- not government. Let’s look at the auto industry. Perhaps there are simply too many auto brands and dealerships. Perhaps thousands of auto dealerships need to go out of business in order to heal the industry and jumpstart the comeback. Perhaps 2500 auto dealerships nationwide instead of 5000 would make the survivors healthier, stronger, more profitable, built for the long haul. Perhaps if the auto industry contracted, the surviving players would create even more jobs in the long run. No pain, no gain- perhaps by keeping failing companies alive, we are hurting consumers and costing more jobs.

When airlines like TWA, Eastern and Pan Am went out of business, consumers simply turned to different brands, such as Southwest. When Zenith went out of business, consumers simply bought more Sonys. Did life as we know it in America cease to exist? Of course not. In the long run, these business failures were healthy for the system. Consumers benefitted from newer and less expensive alternatives. In any case, it isn’t government’s job to pick winners, or prevent failures. History proves politicians and government bureaucrats are poor (and corrupt) decision-makers.

What holds true for automakers, holds true for all businesses in a capitalist economy. Would the world have survived the loss of AIG? Certainly. Other insurance companies would have taken over their niche (and perhaps done a better job). We survived the loss of Wall Street behemoths such as Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch. Dozens of banks have failed in the past year, yet our banking industry has survived. Why didn’t we save each of them? Casino giants like MGM Mirage and Las Vegas Sands (Venetian) teetered on the verge of bankruptcy and insolvency. Yet Las Vegas survived. Even lawyers are struggling in this terrible economy. This contraction in the legal profession will put hundreds of law firms out of business, costing thousands of lawyers their jobs. Should we bailout lawyers to save the economy? (To the contrary- my educated guess is that the world will be a better place with fewer lawyers).

The same holds true for newspapers. Perhaps there were far too many newspapers in this country in the first place. Perhaps there weren’t enough advertisers to go around. Perhaps it’s healthier for the newspaper industry if a few hundred (or even a few thousand) newspapers go out of business. Perhaps the ones who survive will be stronger. Perhaps the failed newspaper companies will be replaced by media mavericks with better business models.

Or perhaps newspapers are a dying business, slated for extinction. Within a few short years, we may be all getting our news exclusively from the Internet. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that up to consumers to decide? Why should government artificially prop up a failing industry that the consumer no longer wants to buy or read? That’s the point of capitalism- if consumers wanted to read those newspapers, they wouldn’t be going out of business. Why is it government’s job to prop up a company that is rejected by consumers in a free market economy?

But the biggest (and worst) danger of all in a possible newspaper bailout, is the potential for political corruption and censorship. If President Obama saves the New York Times, will that newspaper ever write a negative editorial about Obama? (Of course, it never has and never will- but that’s another commentary about liberal media bias). If the Democratic Congress saves newspapers in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston and Philadelphia, would it surprise you to think that the editors of those newspapers will only endorse Democrats for Congress as a thank you to their benefactors? Or visa versa- perhaps a Democratic Congress will only choose to bailout newspapers that have reliably endorsed Democrats for decades. The potential for corruption, bias and censorship is startling. The potential to silence freedom of speech based on partisan politics and what can only be described as “open bribery” is enormous.

The bailout of banks, insurance companies, and automakers was unfair, immoral and unconstitutional. But the potential bailout of newspapers is the worst mistake of all. The very underpinnings of America- free speech, an unbiased and independent media, separation of editorial opinions from financial dependence- are all at stake. But perhaps that’s exactly what President Obama and the Democratic Congress are banking on. Afterall, once the Obama cabal controls the media, the rest of their plan falls easily into place.

19 thoughts on “Wayne Root: ‘Let Newspapers Fail!’

  1. Steven R Linnabary

    Meanwhile the economy continues to flounder…

    Fish flounder, economies founder.

    And at 1063 words, it’ll never get printed.

    Nitpickin’ out of the way, Root has come up with a pretty good LIBERTARIAN editorial…and one that probably won’t win him any friends in the newspaper industry. Not that it really matters, as newspapers have seen their readership plummet in recent years.

    PEACE

  2. Michael Seebeck

    Agreed on both points.

    Now Root’s ghostwriters need to take this and pare it down for less verbosity while keeping the message on track.

  3. DONE ON PURPOSE

    BAAAAA yes these newspapers will get the bailout, like the Auto industry, they didn’t get it in time so the auto industry had to layoff, close down and whatever. Because the GOVERNMENT AT WORK didn’t pay on time. gee should I be surprised.

  4. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home

    News papers have the hang over from their hey day when they could lecture their readers. Print subscriber[s] do not play that game any more.

    Sac [k of Shit] Bee

    Sandy Ego Union Tribune

    Kansas City [Falling] Star

    [urban dailies with rabid anti readers!]

  5. Kimberly Wilder

    I believe in the basic principle to let the newspapers fail. Big government bailouts like to the banks, car manufacturers, and newspapers are just a way for the rich to shuffle money among themselves, and for incumbent politicians to preserve the status quo.

    When I saw the title, I was thinking of other ways newspapers prop up politicians: Taking ads from local governments for the “legals” (and often returning the gesture with good coverage to elected officials); hosting debates and leaving independent and third candidates off the stage; etc.

  6. Richard Winger

    Michael Moore, the film-maker, says newspapers in Europe are economically sound, because they have more content and people are willing to pay for them. Yet Europe, obviously, also has internet. His point is that the internet isn’t killing newspapers, they are killing themselves by not being good enough.

  7. Michael Seebeck

    Considering the usual stuff in the CrayoLA Times and PUsa No Comics Today, Richard is correct.

  8. Kimberly Wilder

    Yes, to what Richard Winger said above about newspapers.

    I also think that our newspapers haven’t figured out that they needed a seismic shift in what they do, since there is an internet.

    Print newspapers should do longer stories, which people don’t really like to read on line.

    Newspapers should focus more on investigative reporting that they need their own, talented staff to do. So, they have exclusives.

    Newspapers should focus on analysis and coverage that only their talented editors and pundits can do.

    Maybe, print newspapers should all become weeklies. Or, have dailies that are short, newsletters with necessary daily updates. But, focus on an in-depth Sunday paper. (The Sunday paper always sells more anyway.)

    Also, newspapers should just give people more of what they want: Very local coverage (not easy on the internet); The ability to take out cheap want ads and personals (the internet makes things too permanent, print newspapers are a better place for it, anyway); and a wide variety of ideas in one place, so you see other people’s points of view – because the internet gets so specialized – ie: cover third parties!

    Lots and lots of letters to the editors. Great organizing and great sales involves flattering people, and making them get buy-in by showcasing lots of people.

  9. Jill Pyeatt

    Thank you for mentioning Root’s tendency to write such long articles. Many of us who work for a living simply don’t have time to read his long articles. Anyway, I think the newspapers deserve to go out of business. I stopped taking the LA Times seriously when I realized how completely they were blacking out Ron Paul as a presidential candidate.

  10. Robert Milnes

    Yes, & Ron Paul, counterrevolutionary dupe AT BEST, skinny, unhealthy looking whiny voiced reactionary republican dixiecrat conservative got plenty of internet coverage & unrebateable contributions for his worthless, useless, futile gesture self serving surf & turf & champagne limo riding pseudo campaign.

  11. Michael Seebeck

    Yes, Robert, the same Ron Paul that skunked you in Presidential votes and cash several million to ZERO.

    Methinks you’re stuck in jealousy to go with your insanity.

  12. The Last Conservative

    Exactly Robert. The fact that Ron Paul got so few votes, even after such a strong Internet campaign, shows that the strategy was completely wrong. But the losergreenians and losertarians will never listen to the Progressive Alliance strategy. This proves that the system of elections is a failure. Only by returning to absolute monarchy, the system of classical conservatism with the nobility controlling the serfs and the church and monarchy attempting to control the nobility, will the society return to what it was meant to be. Democracy and liberty must be ended; the state must contain our liviathon natures.

  13. Pingback: LI Newsday publisher resigns! « OntheWilderSide

  14. Kimberly Wilder

    (The pingback above is because I linked here.)

    So…anyway…it is interesting news and related to our discussion that the publisher of one of the biggest, Long Island dailies, has resigned.

    Cablevision had bought Newsday awhile back. And, the format of the on-line Newsday changed a lot a few weeks ago to be ad-driven and photo-heavy.

    The story also reports:

    -But the company reported that Newsday, which it bought in the summer of 2008 from the Tribune Co., had an operating loss of $2.6 million.- (I believe that is a loss for the QUARTER)

    Also, I wonder if newspaper people will be resigning and reshuffling based in part in who the government might be willing to anoint with its money or not??? And/or which publishers are willing to accept the money from the government?

    The Newsday story itself is at:

    http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/newsday-publisher-tim-knight-resigns-1.1469378

  15. Pingback: Please comment: What could Newsday do to become profitable? « OntheWilderSide

  16. paulie Post author

    Kimberly @ 10

    What are the chances of finding venture capital for something like that? I’d guess not very good in this economy, but it may be worth exploring.

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