“Government is going to be involved one way or the other,” Waxman told a U.S. Federal Trade Commission workshop today in Washington on the future of journalism. Newspapers, with declining revenue and circulation, are facing a “market failure” as advertisers move to the Internet, he said. “Congress responds to market failures.”
There is more at stake than sagging profits and lost jobs, Waxman said. “A vigorous free press and a vigorous democracy have been inextricably linked,” he said.
Congress could respond with tax relief, by easing antitrust laws or possibly by subsidizing newspapers, Waxman said. He didn’t endorse any approach and said any solution should originate with the industry and have public support and backing from Republicans and Democrats.
Waxman said proponents of newspaper subsidies would have to address concerns that they would “lead to government control of content.”
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