FCC's Meredith Attwell Baker Rips Proposals For Government To Fund News Media
September 16, 2010 at 4:24 AM (PT)
In a speech to the CAPITOL HILL MEDIA SUMMIT WEDNESDAY (9/15), FCC Commissioner MEREDITH ATTWELL BAKER criticized proposals to "rescue" the struggling news media with public funding, asserting that "Our nation has flourished for over 200 years with a strong independent press" and "We should not abandon nor tweak this tradition merely due to changing circumstances."
"Ironically," BAKER said, "proponents of reform seek to protect journalism by undermining its core. Without true independence from government, the press could not serve its proud role as a check on governmental authority. Direct government funding of journalism would also erode the public’s attitude towards media, an attitude already characterized by more skepticism than trust. Only 20% of Americans believe that news organizations are independent of powerful interests, and 60% of Americans believe news organizations to be politically biased. Combining these metrics with government-sponsored journalism will clearly upset an already precarious relationship. Funding -- no matter how well-insulated from editorial decisions -- will only exacerbate concerns about a captured press."
BAKER concluded that "proactive government intervention into journalism is not just expensive and constitutionally problematic, it is also unnecessarily defeatist: it undermines the incentives for companies to create the next great journalistic endeavor. Many media players and efforts need time to find their footing in this new digital era, and we must provide these companies with the time to develop a healthy, innovative industry built for long-term sustainability."