Columbia president: What we need is more taxpayer-funded journalism

posted at 4:24 pm on July 14, 2010 by Allahpundit

The best part? His plan calls for rolling Voice of America — a de facto propaganda outlet of the U.S. government — into NPR and PBS to form a star-spangled equivalent of … the BBC. (With, ahem, “full journalistic independence,” of course.) Contain your excitement, red-staters.

The idea of public funding for the press stirs deep unease in American culture. To many it seems inconsistent with our strong commitment, embodied in the First Amendment, to having a free press capable of speaking truth to power and to all of us. This press is a kind of public trust, a fourth branch of government. Can it be trusted when the state helps pay for it?…

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research. Those of us in public and private research universities care every bit as much about academic freedom as journalists care about a free press.

To take a very current example, we trust our great newspapers to collect millions of dollars in advertising from BP while reporting without fear or favor on the company’s environmental record only because of a professional culture that insulates revenue from news judgment.

Or consider another area where we have well established mechanisms of government support for even the most oppositional views: defense counsel in our courts, where government-paid lawyers (including those in uniform military courts) will do their utmost to undermine cases brought by the government itself. Playing the role of calling our government to account is an accepted ethic of the legal profession despite the political hostility it can sometimes generate.

I go back and forth between thinking that state-run media is (a) a fait accompli as more papers fold and older voters who rely heavily on print news start panicking and (b) impossible in a post-TARP, post-GM political age where bailouts are about as politically popular as child molestation. I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon — too much anti-statist mojo brewing in the electorate right now — but remember, there’s already halting movement in Congress to save struggling newspapers by granting them tax-exempt status as nonprofits. And that’s without the media having fully thrown itself behind this idea yet: Imagine how public opinion will move once more Bollinger types start arguing that freedom of the press doesn’t mean much if the press can’t stay in business, in which case isn’t a publicly-subsidized media actually closer to the Founders’ ideals than the prospect of virtually no media at all? As for bias, Spruiell’s right that the big worry isn’t journalists ignoring government corruption so much as them sinking even further into tax-and-spend dogma to protect their paychecks. But lefties have an easy answer to that. According to conservatives, the media’s already hopelessly biased beyond repair. So what’ll be lost by going the whole nine yards and making them bona fide federal/state employees?

As a gloss on all this, read Andrew Ferguson’s short but incisive take on Newsweek’s ill-fated makeover as the sort of magazine journalists want to write for rather than a magazine readers want to read. Once you free the media from the pesky financial pressure of pleasing consumers, you’re bound to get lots, lots more of that. May a thousand Newsweeks bloom!


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If they agree to Rush Limbaugh as lifetime director, lets do it!

rob verdi on July 14, 2010 at 4:26 PM

I agree. And when republicans take control again, they can use all this advocacy for state run media and shove it back in their face.

ramrants on July 14, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Wasn’t there a hue and cry of outrage over some journalist being paid by the Bush administration?

Skandia Recluse on July 14, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Columbia president: What we need is more taxpayer-funded journalism

LincolntheHun: What we need is fewer leeches on the public dole.

LincolntheHun on July 14, 2010 at 4:29 PM

The leftist “non profit” machine has made co-opting taxpayer funded Federal agencies for partisan political gain a high art.

Maybe it’s time the Republicans began playing the same game?

rickyricardo on July 14, 2010 at 4:29 PM

I go back and forth between thinking that state-run media is (a) a fait accompli as more papers fold and older voters who rely heavily on print news start panicking and (b) impossible in a post-TARP, post-GM political age where bailouts are about as politically popular as child molestation.

A lot of conservative or (balanced) papers are doing well actually. Go figure.

conservnut on July 14, 2010 at 4:30 PM

“Okay, he’s begging to be pooped on.” – Triumph the Insult Dog

AubieJon on July 14, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Breaking News: VP Cheney had a heart pump installed last week and is in ICU.

SnarkVader on July 14, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Now we see why Zuckerman claims to have been pimping Zero as a sold-out speechwriter. Zuckerman has, what?, about a billion in NY Daily News and US Snooze and World Report and realizes those soon may be headed the same direction as Newsweak. What better opportunity for Zuckerman than to latch onto the public teat bailout than by selling out to Zero?

viking01 on July 14, 2010 at 4:33 PM

but remember, there’s already halting movement in Congress to save struggling newspapers by granting them tax-exempt status as nonprofits

Someone will have to explain this to me. How does it help a ‘struggling’ industry (struggling one would guess to mean not making a profit) by not taxing their non existent profits? How does it help a failing industry to label them ‘non-profit’? How does that help them pay their bills if they don’t have enough revenue to cover expenses?

Skandia Recluse on July 14, 2010 at 4:36 PM

This is a little…nutty…dontcha think?

therightwinger on July 14, 2010 at 4:37 PM

This whole ‘free enterprise’ thing is really tough for these folks to swallow. It is just soooo messy and unfair. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have these sorts of problems like failing businesses (except those that racist Teabaggers run). Sigh.

Yes, VOA is a good choice as an example. The Washington Times noticed a little problem with their Iran desk last year.

GnuBreed on July 14, 2010 at 4:37 PM

I go back and forth between thinking that state-run media is (a) a fait accompli as more papers fold and older voters who rely heavily on print news start panicking

This makes no sense. Seniors don’t have TVs? They don’t get cable? They’re not becoming more computer savvy as time goes on?

And this ignores the free market principle of supply and demand. Many people want news. They want to be informed. But in today’s society, they have so many ways in which to retrieve the news and countless companies and sources who can provide it that it’s inevitable that many of them can’t survive much longer. Especially in the 24/7 news era where daily newspapers and weekly magazines are practically obsolete by the time the customer receives it.

Plus that’s not even factoring in the blatant media bias that’s making some news sources(FoxNews, talk radio, internet blogs) preferable to others(do I even have to list the known offenders?).

Doughboy on July 14, 2010 at 4:38 PM

How does it help a ’struggling’ industry (struggling one would guess to mean not making a profit) by not taxing their non existent profits?

It lets people make tax-exempt donations to them.

Allahpundit on July 14, 2010 at 4:38 PM

They’re not becoming more computer savvy as time goes on?

Sure, but look at the numbers national broadcast news does every night at 6:30 compared to what O’Reilly does at 8 p.m. There’s still a huge, huge audience out there for dinosaur media.

Allahpundit on July 14, 2010 at 4:39 PM

I DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR THE PUBLIC TO BE DUMBED DOWN ANYMORE THAN IT ALREADY IS. Step away from my wallet.

txag92 on July 14, 2010 at 4:40 PM

and (b) impossible in a post-TARP, post-GM political age where bailouts are about as politically popular as child molestation

If you ask Hollywood, child molestation is pretty acceptable these days.

amerpundit on July 14, 2010 at 4:40 PM

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research. Those of us in public and private research universities care every bit as much about academic freedom as journalists care about a free press.

You might want to check out why Hillsdale College refuses to have anything to do with the federal government, Champ. They know full well how much gubminters would get in their face by using the slightest pretext to barge in.

As for the “academic freedom” practiced using billions of dollars, the revelation in the Climategate files of how the “independent and objective” peer review system was rigged demonstrates that this is another big lie.

ya2daup on July 14, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Is this the same Columbia president (turd) who invited Ahmadinejad to speak on his campus.

This guy is just chocked full of good ideas.

fogw on July 14, 2010 at 4:42 PM

At our house we read the paper and question the writer as which slant he has or just to get the Police facts – other than that — whats on sale — from the circulars ..

wheels on July 14, 2010 at 4:42 PM

His plan calls for rolling Voice of America — a de facto propaganda outlet of the U.S. government — into NPR and PBS to form a star-spangled equivalent of … the BBC. (With, ahem, “full journalistic independence,” of course.) Contain your excitement, red-staters.

Just in case you didn’t know, the Voice of America was created soley to beam counter-revolutionary information into the Soviet-Bloc countries. Thats right…VOA is construct of propoganda to incite revolt against governments and populations the US gubbamint doesn’t like.

Now, the VOA will be aimed at the US population.

Gird, my comrades, gird.

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 4:44 PM

The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research. Those of us in public and private research universities care every bit as much about academic freedom as journalists care about a free press.

Oh my sides! Tell it to the religion professor who got fired for teaching religion.

RedRedRice on July 14, 2010 at 4:45 PM

If this isn’t stopped, we’re headed for 1984 (the book, not the year. I’d be happy with the year!).

Yeah, we’re already some distance down that road, but actually having the government subsidize the MSM would be insane. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, though.

tsj017 on July 14, 2010 at 4:46 PM

This is rather rich coming from the same J-School which bestowed its coveted Bancroft Award on plaigerist and fraud Michael Bellesiles for “The Arming of America”, only to have to rescind it when his plaigerism and fraud were revealed.

As someone who has practiced law for many years, wanting to emulate the legal profession in pretty much anything is tantamount to telling your girlfriend, wife, etc., when begging for something new and different in the sack, “Well, honey, dogs do it.”

J-schools want to have employers hire their graduates and things aren’t looking good for any of them.

molonlabe28 on July 14, 2010 at 4:46 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_administration_payment_of_columnists

hmmm bad then good now?

CWforFreedom on July 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Talk about state run media….the HA filters just choked on a rather sublime post of mine…which contained one of the 7 deadly words.

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research.

I luckilly read this just BEFORE having a sip of coffee. I love the tie I’m wearing today and would hate to ruin it with a spit take.

DrAllecon on July 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Sure, but look at the numbers national broadcast news does every night at 6:30 compared to what O’Reilly does at 8 p.m. There’s still a huge, huge audience out there for dinosaur media.

Allahpundit on July 14, 2010 at 4:39 PM

If there’s a huge audience for the Big Three nightly newscasts, then they should have no problem selling commercial time to advertisers.

Doughboy on July 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

So kids go to college to be a journalist on the taxpayer dime, then go to work for a newspaper propped up by the government.

What could go wrong?

booter on July 14, 2010 at 4:50 PM

There are too many journalist chasing after media dollars. Somebody has got to go…let them die.

d1carter on July 14, 2010 at 4:51 PM

What could go wrong?

booter on July 14, 2010 at 4:50 PM

They slip up and write a good story with facts once in a while?

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 4:51 PM

tsj017 on July 14, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Report immediately to the Ministry of Love or your comments will be forwarded to flag@whitehouse.gov

Joe Caps on July 14, 2010 at 4:53 PM

“So what’ll be lost by going the whole nine yards and making them bona fide federal/state employees?”

You mean besides the additional tax money we’ll have to pay (or the additional debt run up, take your pick) so that those people can make 40% more than private sector workers?

Anyway, I don’t see how tax-exempt status helps the bottom lines of newspapers/magazines that are already red and dead-tree versions of news businesses are going to die no matter what.

About the only thing that could save them is a radical switch in emphasis to advocating for a return to political power vested in local government. The greater degree to which this power is vested in local government, the greater the monopoly on information the newspapers will have. Right now all eyes are turned to Washington and you can get news on that from anywhere in the country.

Dusty on July 14, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Lee Bollinger is scum. He invited President Pajamahead fo Iran to speak at Columbia University, btu would not allow a student group to invite the Minute Men, a boder control group to speak at an event.

Free speach for liberals but not libertarians.

patch on July 14, 2010 at 4:55 PM

I can’t help but notice that in Bollinger’s entire essay, there’s no actual argument as to why we should do this. Instead it’s just a bunch of reasons why in his view it wouldn’t be Armageddon if we did.

I can come up with a hundred reasons why meat-flavored toothpaste wouldn’t be the end of the world. That’s not evidence it out to be tried.

The Lone Platypus on July 14, 2010 at 4:56 PM

OUGHT to be tried. Stupid iPad.

The Lone Platypus on July 14, 2010 at 4:57 PM

I can come up with a hundred reasons why meat-flavored toothpaste wouldn’t be the end of the world. That’s not evidence it out to be tried.

The Lone Platypus on July 14, 2010 at 4:56 PM

“Excuse me….do you have the Crest Medium Rare Rib-Eye Tartar Control Whitening Gel?”

Yikes.

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Another ‘educated idiot’ speaks. Hell, why not roll VOA into the two premier outlets for DNC talking points. At least they’d all be labeled properly for once. Propaganda organs.

GarandFan on July 14, 2010 at 4:59 PM

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research

HA!

I can’t think of 2 more dishonest, partisan, corrupt and propaganda driven institutions.

Guardian on July 14, 2010 at 5:02 PM

J-schools are a Ponzi scheme about to collapse. Of the course the taxpayers should fund journalists.

Dhuka on July 14, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Tonight in hour 7 of the Olberman Show: An in-depth look at why the US has always been at war with Oceania

This….is VOA.

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 5:03 PM

In the end these guys are simply going to have to get real jobs. They’re going to be the most interesting bunch of baristas Starbucks has ever seen.

Mojave Mark on July 14, 2010 at 5:03 PM

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research. Those of us in public and private research universities care every bit as much about academic freedom as journalists care about a free press.

Pardon me folks, but BUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLSHHHHHHHHIIIIIITTTT!

Public universities are the spawning ground for statism, part of the whole AGW controversy involves the likelihood that panicky pro-AGW research gets the tax dollas while skeptical research sucks hind t!t. And as for respect for academic freedom, paging David Horowitz, please pick up the white courtesy phone—what about the academic freedom of conservative faculty and students?

Sekhmet on July 14, 2010 at 5:04 PM

We already have taxpayer funded news. It is called a subscription.

If they wanted the paper, they would pay for a subscription. I can only clean the bird cage so many times a day.

seven on July 14, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Works in Venezuela.

the_nile on July 14, 2010 at 5:08 PM

The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research.

Isn’t that how we came up with all the flawed models and theories that revolve around AGW? Gov’t offers grant to study affects of AGW. University studies affects of AGW. Kind of hard to obtain that grant in the first place if you raise your hand and say, “Uh, there is no AGW.”

I love the example of legal defense, too. Yeah, our best legal minds are working as public defenders. No offense to those who work as public defenders, but it’s not the most rewarding job, both in terms of income and job satisfaction…”Hey, I just got a child molestor off on a technicality!”

RedinPDRM on July 14, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Slight O/T:

Beck’s going after Matthews (with video) quoting Alinsky with all the glorification Matthews can tingle-up. This points out that we already have a state run media. MSDNC

Rovin on July 14, 2010 at 5:13 PM

all your broadcast belong to us.

moonbatkiller on July 14, 2010 at 5:16 PM

These p*icks are no different than the local “artists” here in Oregon. We fund the “artists” in the Portland area … their contribution to society is so f’ing valuable to our culture.

Give me a break! Work for your wages, just like I have for all of these years you freak’n leech.

ORrighty on July 14, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Taxpayer funded? Uh that would then be Gov’t run Journalism. Hey maybe an Internet Kill switch too, in case it doesnt go your way.

johnnyU on July 14, 2010 at 5:29 PM

I think it’s really sweet that Columbia’s hiring retarded people to lead them. It’s very cutting edge and special-needs friendly. Anytime someone with such a severely limited mental capacity can make a good living like that it’s a wonderful thing. Yay for Columbia and it’s retarded President.

WashingtonsWake on July 14, 2010 at 5:44 PM

I think it’s really sweet that Columbia’s hiring retarded people to lead them. It’s very cutting edge and special-needs friendly. Anytime someone with such a severely limited mental capacity can make a good living like that it’s a wonderful thing. Yay for Columbia and it’s retarded President.

WashingtonsWake on July 14, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Absolutely. They don’t make good bowlers, so they’re left with being college professors and deans.

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Saw the headline and at first thought this was the President of Colombia speaking. Then I saw the “u” instead of an “o” in the title, and realized my error.

After reading the article, I am going back to my first conclusion. This guy does preside over a Third World Country.

Del Dolemonte on July 14, 2010 at 6:13 PM

His plan calls for rolling Voice of America — a de facto propaganda outlet of the U.S. government — into NPR and PBS to form a star-spangled equivalent of … the BBC. (With, ahem, “full journalistic independence,” of course.) Contain your excitement, red-staters.

Actually, NPR “merged” with the BBC back in the early 1990s. It’s been downhill for both of them since.

Del Dolemonte on July 14, 2010 at 6:17 PM

So, would Press Secretary Gibbs be a good example of a government funded journalist?

Robert17 on July 14, 2010 at 6:48 PM

let’s face it..the media has always been bought and paid for by someone. now that the internet is killing print and doing great harm to TV networks, it was inevitable that those scoundrels in ink stained shirtsleeves would run to papa obama to save their hides.

those who can’t, teach

those who can’t teach get a job as a reporter.

DrW on July 14, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Let’s call taxpayer-funded “journalism” by its proper term: Propaganda.

n0doz on July 14, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Columbia president: What we need is more taxpayer-funded journalism

No! What we need is, less dimocrap ideological, liberal, progressive, dumb a$$ commies such as this in the country.

capejasmine on July 14, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Funny, I don’t know any older voters who are “panicking” over the demise of newspapers. They welcome reading news on a computer screen, where they can easily make the print larger for their aging eyes — something you can’t do without uber-magnification of newsprint.

Nichevo on July 14, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Government Funded Print Media
-
Some day in the future… piles of unread newspapers being recycled, and reprinted, and then again… piled up… unread.

Government Funded Print Media

RalphyBoy on July 14, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Mark Levin has noted that we are living thru the collapse of the welfare state. The bad news is that there are two ways to go from here…liberty/freedom….and, well, you know the other way

obviously this guy fits into the “second” way…there’s many who would like that.

Levin, of course, thinks this election is critical. Who can disagree?

r keller on July 14, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Taxpayer funded newspapers might just be the last straw for me.

If those morons can’t stay in business, then we can just damned well go back to individuals handing out flyers — after all, that’s the way the newspaper business started out in this country.

I am sick and tired of my future becoming ever more in hock to a bunch of people I don’t know but whom I am required to support. I am not a law breaker. Yet.

alice on July 14, 2010 at 8:26 PM

Double Rainbow.
All the way.

Dorvillian on July 14, 2010 at 11:08 PM

Comrade Bollinger wants an American Pravda newspaper. Don’t we already get that from our congress in their reports back to us and in the Congressional Record?

sadatoni on July 15, 2010 at 8:12 AM

What we need is raising the bar, when it comes to finding leadership at J-Schools.

Then again, journalism thrived before J-Schools were there to dumb down the students. Maybe a clue?

MNHawk on July 15, 2010 at 9:47 AM