Things like this make me sad. Flat out sad - depressed that the solution for every transformational change in our country is trending toward GOVERNMENT BAILOUT. In this op-ed, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger argues, as the title says, "Journalism Needs Government Help."
On the contrary. As Bollinger's first paragraph nails it,
"We have entered a momentous period in the history of the American press. The invention of new communications technologies—especially the Internet—is transforming the human capacity to speak, perhaps as monumentally as the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. This is facilitating the largest and fastest expansion of global economic growth in human history. Free speech and a free press are essential to a dynamic economy."
The internet and blogosphere have brought an amazing wealth of information onto the EveryMan's desktop, allowing us to read the opinions and analysis of those who actually KNOW - without needing to have it filtered through reporters who don't. We don't need a state-run press corps.
I tried to write a piece explaining how absurd I find Bollinger's editorial, but to be honest I'm just too mad/depressed/shocked to write it. Do I really need to explain that there isn't a single mainstream media source on the planet who has provided the value added in simple tidbits that an unheralded blogger like Economics of Contempt gleamed from actually spending the time reading the 4000 page Lehman's Examiner report? Do I need to explain that there isn't a single mainstream media source on the planet who provides analysis and interpretation of economic data on the level of Calculated Risk Blog? I can assure you that there is not a single business writer at the NY Times, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC or the WSJ who understands market structure and trading dynamics the way that I do.
Mainstream media is suffering because there are other people who do their jobs much better than they do. Full stop.
I guess I'll just quote Jeff Harding's response on The Daily Capitalist:
"What Professor Bollinger is saying is that he wants us to pay for news from journalists he thinks we should read, not what we think we should read. As a law professor he is an expert in first amendment issues. If he is an expert then he is the exemplar of the problem with scholarship and intellectualism in America today. He obviously distrusts our ability to make choices about the news we wish to read and he is eager to supplant his judgment for ours. If he believes that forcing us to pay for news services we don’t want is the key to Constitutional freedoms and freedom of the press, then we are in trouble because he is in a position to do something about it."