A lot has changed since the Federal Trade Commission released their draft proposal on bailing out the media, but that isn’t stopping the Commission from holding its next workshop tomorrow called “Will Journalism Survive in the Internet Age?” We previously highlighted the plethora of tax hikes totaling $35 billion that the FTC outlined in their draft media bailout proposal. Almost immediately, public opposition was so high that it forced FTC Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz to state that “some of these may not be advisable policy recommendations” and that the 5% tax on consumer electronics in particular was a “terrible idea.”
Since we noted the opposition to the tax and spending components last week, another survey by Rasmussen Reports has found alarming public concern about free speech violations and government content control that could result if Uncle Sam (read: taxpayers) starts cutting checks. Here are some highlights:
- 85% believe that maintaining freedom of the press is more important that supporting the newspaper industry.
- 69% believe that government funded media will avoid criticizing government policies.
- 64% think that if government pays the salaries of journalists, they will place limits on what those journalists can cover (including 41% who think it is very likely).
- Only 19% think government should take steps to save traditional forms of journalism, while 60% oppose it.
Wrapping this all together, 71% oppose a government bailout of the newspaper industry. So, while we appreciate FTC Chairman Leibowitz’s hesitations about the iPad tax, I hope he shares the same negative sentiments for the tax on Internet, cell phones, online ads, and spectrum, as well as proposals to boost subsidies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, local news, and outright government funding of journalist salaries, amongst others.
So, where on earth are all these horrendous ideas coming from? The same neomarxists at Free Press who are waging another war to regulate the Internet under Net Neutrality. Not only did Free Press founder Robert McChesney testify before the FTC at a previous workshop on media bailouts, but almost all of the tax and spend recommendations the FTC listed came directly from his work. Compare, contrast, and learn how McChesney's socialist ideas wound up in the FTC's plan.