Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

summary of remarks at "Crisis in Journalism" event

This morning I spoke at a Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy event on, "The Crisis in Journalism: What Should the Government Do?" The panel also included Steven Waldman, senior advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who is heading up the FCC's new effort on "The Future of Media and the Information Needs of Communities in a Digital Age; Susan DeSanti, Director of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. (The FTC has also been investigating whether journalism will survive the Internet age and what government should do about it); and Andy Schwartzman, President of the Media Access Project. Mark MacCarthy of Georgetown Univ. moderated the discussion. Here's the outline of my remarks. I didn't bother penning a speech.


What Funds Media? Can Government Subsidies Fill the Void?

1) Public media & subsidies can play a role, but that role should be tightly limited

2) Indeed, public financing would not begin to make up the shortfall from traditional private funding sources

3) Shouldn't force taxpayers to foot the bill for things they might not want or find offensive

4) Greater government involvement--even in the form of subsidies--will raise profound questions about press independence & First Amendment rights

5) Oh, by the way, where exactly does the FCC and FTC derive the authority to be playing these games?

What Can Be Done to Promote Journalism / Assist Media Operators?

1) First, Do No Harm... Be patient and humble.

2) Exercise extreme caution re: new or existing public interest regulatory obligations, which won't make media reinvention any easier

3) Beware new advertising restrictions at both FCC & FTC

4) Gov't must be willing to allow business model flexibility

5) Ownership flexibility needs to be part of the solution

6) Non-profit BUT non-governmental options should be allowed


Additional Reading:

posted by Adam Thierer @ 2:39 PM | Events , Free Speech , Mass Media , Media Regulation