FTC Wants to Tax Drudge, Subsidize NY Times
WASHINGTON: This administration, fearful of the power that an open and free media has to disseminate truth, feels that it needs to bail out traditional newspapers and dinosaur networks to keep control of the flow of information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just released a major discussion draft that proposes bailouts for traditional media. The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) “Diversity Czar” Mark Lloyd has called for the same takeover of media in the US that Chavez has instituted in Venezuela.
Stocks of Internet providers fell dramatically in early May as the FCC said it would move forward with net neutrality rules as the FCC is moving closer to seizing control of the Internet. Investors fear that increased federal regulations will present significant challenges to the viability of fledgeling new media. Verizon and other providers are alarmed that the FCC is trying to reclassify broadband to put it under their control:
CTIA and Verizon expressed alarm over FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s proposal to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act.
CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said in a statement that he was “disappointed” with the announcement. “This complex, interdependent ecosystem is currently thriving to the benefit to all Americans,” he said. “Putting that success at risk is unnecessary and dangerous, particularly in today’s economic environment.” Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week
It is the same principle as the EPA reclassifying carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide is required by all plant life on the planet but the EPA has seized control over it in order to leverage power over every aspect of American life. Now the FTC wants to use the same ploy to control the Internet:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking ways to “reinvent” journalism, and that’s a cause for concern. According to a May 24 draft proposal, the agency thinks government should be at the center of a media overhaul. The bureaucracy sees it as a problem that the Internet has introduced a wealth of information options to consumers, forcing media companies to adapt and experiment to meet changing market needs. FTC’s policy staff fears this new reality…
With no faith that the market will work things out for the better, government thinks it must come to the rescue.
The ideas being batted around to save the industry share a common theme: They are designed to empower bureaucrats, not consumers. For instance, one proposal would, “Allow news organizations to agree jointly on a mechanism to require news aggregators and others to pay for the use of online content, perhaps through the use of copyright licenses.”
In other words, government policy would encourage a tax on websites like the Drudge Report, a must-read source for the news links of the day, so that the agency can redistribute the funds collected to various newspapers. Washington Times.
That the government is considering what amounts to the nationalization of media has raised the eyebrows of many journalists, including the LA Times:
That strident sound you hear are the alarms going off in minds and offices across the country: Government helping the press? Which press? How help? In return for what?
Well, two years ago who’d have thought the feds would own General Motors with major holdings in a bunch of banks and financial institutions, reshaped the healthcare industry, spent $787 billion on who-knows-what to create some jobs, have rewritten a package of new financial regulations to corral Wall Street and still not be securing the U.S.-Mexico border? Andrew Malcolm, LA Times
Mark Taspcott at the Washington Examiner wonders if journalists will wake up in time to save journalism from Obama’s FTC. Jeff Jarvis has an excellent analysis of the danger at the Buzz Machine.
This is all about power. It’s a lot easier for the government to control a few networks and newspapers than it is to control content providers like Drudge, American Daughter, Reality Check, the NIP, and the other watchdogs of the new media. King George didn’t like the colonialists’ newspapers, and neither does this administration. Our founding fathers didn’t tolerate this kind of nonsense and neither should we.