Thursday, September 24, 2009

A damaging poll confirms the obvious … 8 out of 10 don’t want taxpayers bailing out newspapers

Editor and Publisher reported on a study conducted by Sacred Heart University that came to that conclusion.

Nearly 8 out of 10 Americans would oppose any plan to spend tax dollars to aid failing newspapers, according to a poll on news media trustworthiness released Wednesday. That reluctance might have something to do with the fact that 38.1% of respondents to the poll by Sacred Heart University said they are reading newspapers less often than five years ago. Or the fact that nearly half, 45%, said they think the Internet is "adequately covering for failing newspapers." Just 35.6% disagreed with that statement.

It continues:

[T]he poll found Americans do not believe they are getting "good journalism." Just under 68% of respondents agreement with this statement: "Old-style, traditionally objective and fair journalism is dead." Just 26.5% disagreed, while 5.6% were unsure. Much of Sacred Heart poll concerns mainstream television news, which respondents clearly view with jaundiced eyes. Fully 83.6% said national news media organizations were very or somewhat biased while just 14.1% viewed them as somewhat unbiased or not at all biased.

President Obama in a recent statement said he might support efforts to help bailout newspapers. While the comment to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette may be more about relaxing anti-trust enforcement of newspapers in their attempts to come up with a common policy to charge for internet access, it raises the specter of direct government support for failing newspapers. A new buzz word is developing in Washington and it is “Public Media.”

It is being promoted by the liberal Free Press organization and mentioned also by Michael Copps, a long term Democrat FCC Commissioner. The thought of the NY Times converting itself into a non-profit National Public Newspaper, living off the public dole with Pinch Sulzberger in control, is enough to send chills down my spine.

Addendum: The Sacred Heart poll story was one of three featured stories on E&P’s home page as I began writing this post. Normally as new stories replace the old ones on the E&P site, the linked headline drops into box entitled “More Headlines.”

All references to this story have now been scrubbed from the homepage. If you read the entire story you will see why. It is extremely damaging. The story is still available through a search of E&P’s site, but in case it is scrubbed or altered, I have saved a copy.

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