Michelle: Are you ready for state-owned newspapers?

Recorded this morning, before the Times announced a new round of layoffs and a five percent pay cut across the board. She’s talking here about the Cardin bill that would make local papers eligible for nonprofit status, which is still a ways away from government ownership but a concrete step in that direction. From a political standpoint, it’s a distinction without much of a difference: If and when national papers become eligible too, we can all guess from which side of the aisle most of their donations will come and what that’ll do to the public’s trust in the objectivity of their reporting. How low can our faith in media go? We’ll find out.

Actually, I know a guy with money to burn who I bet would be tickled to get involved with fair, impartial institutions like newspapers. Someone should give him a call. Exit question one: Will blogs count as “newspapers” for 501(c)(3) purposes too? Exit question two: Will even tax exemption and charitable contributions be enough to keep papers afloat long-term? As long as the trend towards online news consumption continues and copyright laws let blogs reproduce the key paragraphs from news stories, they’re going to bleed.