Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Mark Tapscott: Obama's FTC Aims To Control Journalism
Mark Tapscott: Will journalists wake up in time to save journalism from Obama's FTC?
Oh but don't worry.
Release of the Federal Trade Commission's working paper on "reinventing journalism" makes it clear that there is no more time for diplomacy about this issue: President Obama is determined to federalize the news industry just as he has banking, autos, and health care.
Everybody who wants independent journalism had better wake up to these three facts about what is going:
* Journalists must understand that there is no way the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press will survive if the federal government regulates the news industry as envisioned by the FTC. Those who accept at face value protests to the contrary or the professions of pure intentions by advocates of government takeover of the news business are, at best, incredibly naive.
* Journalists who remain silent or apathetic about what is being prepared by the FTC for their profession become unintentional accessories in the strangulation of independent journalism.
* Journalists who support or assist, for any reason, the FTC process are accomplices in the strangulation of independent journalism.
Those in the administration who clearly view independent journalism as an obstacle to "change we can believe in" and their numerous allies in the old media, non-profit, and academic communities who either share a similar ideological vision or see the FTC process as their salvation against the Internet, will no doubt dismiss my assertions as extemism or alarmism.
Fine, call me whatever, but what they cannot deny is what is clearly written in the FTC document and what it reveals about the intention behind the initiative, which is to transform the news industry from an information product collected by private individuals and entrepreneurs as a service to private buyers, to a government-regulated public utility providing a "public good," as defined and regulated by government.
Oh but don't worry.