March 25th, 2009
03:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Cafferty: Should government be involved in saving newspapers?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Join the conversation on Jack's blog."]
The government might step in and help rescue the struggling newspaper industry. Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin has introduced a bill that would allow newspapers to operate like nonprofit organizations — kind of like public broadcasting stations.

The “Newspaper Revitalization Act” would let newspapers choose a tax-exempt status; they wouldn’t be able to make political endorsements anymore, but could report on all issues — including political campaigns.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax-exempt; and contributions made to help support coverage would be tax deductible.

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Filed under: Cafferty File
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Toni

    Jack, the only thing that can save newspapers is the readership. It's not a coincidence that more people get their news online than ever as papers across the country decline. Technology is advancing and if newspapers can't keep up with the times, they fail.

    It's a fact of life.

    March 25, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Fan of Common Sense

    Why not? The media is already in the tank for Obama.

    March 25, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Kimberly from Houston, TX

    No, the government can not be expected to do everything!

    March 25, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Josiah Bernard

    Let me get this straight: we save the car industry, we save the mortgage/banking industry and now newspapers.
    Question: Who is going to save the 12.9% of my friends and neighbors who are out of work in Lane County Oregon?

    March 25, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Mel

    No. The newspapers aren't failing due to the economy, they're failing due to a change in the way we all communicate. Thats business.

    March 25, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. loretta

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. Enough is enough. The democrates are putting
    us on a fast track to hell....Let businesses stand on there on two feet. The strong stands tall and the weak falls. That is the way it should be.............................

    March 25, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Pete in Colorado

    Based on just the subject line of this blurp, my instant reaction was "Heck no!" But, after seeing the proposal, my reaction is much more neutral now. We in the tech field have known that newspapers have been desperately holding onto a dieing industry for the last decade or more. Perhaps if the economy did not take as harsh a turn the newspaper industry could have tread water for the longer, but it doesn't change the fact that they were following an outdated revenue model with no vision towards to future.

    The quality research, editorials and news they offer is valuable, but I believe the free market and entrepreneurs of the world will quickly fill any gap that failing newspapers will create. The papers that do not fail will continue on because of great leadership with a vision for what the future really is. The future is not paper.

    By allowing them to become non-profit it will bottleneck innovation towards great new media venues with new technologies. These non-profits would be able to stronghold any innovative techniques without the added expense of taxes. But innovation will dwindle since entrepreneurs would have no incentive to fight against non-profit organizations.

    Let Darwinism come back and allow the strong and innovative to survive and the weak and outdated flounder and be overtaken by the new.

    March 25, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Ben (Eugene, OR)

    Are you insane?? The newspapers are already terrible at keeping Washington accountable. Having politicians in control of the news will only expand the problem.

    March 25, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Claire


    ...and I am a journalist. What a waste of time of governmental time and money, to try and prevent the inevitable.

    March 25, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Tough times...

    Nope: We can't save everything, every business, every bank, newspaper. Survival of the fittest is one of nature's rules for a reason. Sounds harsh but if no one ever died, the world would have no room to move: same with business.

    March 25, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |