Federal Trade Commission to, uh, Hold a Series of Workshops About Newspapers?

The FTC, whose motto is "protecting America's consumers," and whose mission is to "prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices," has announced plans to protect America's consumers by, er, holding a bunch of workshops about how hard it is out there for a newspaper. Also, someone in the P.R. department should be elbowed in the privates for this press release headline:

Extra! Extra! FTC Announces Workshop: 'Can News Media Survive the Internet Age? Competition, Consumer Protection, and First Amendment Perspectives'

From the announcement:

"Many industries have experienced transitions to new business models in response to new forms of competition on the Internet, and consumers generally have benefitted in the process," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz explained. "But the news business may be different because of the First Amendment values at stake. Whether we get our news from ink on paper, TV, radio, laptops, or mobile devices, we need a strong news industry for our democracy to thrive. Bringing together competition, consumer protection, and First Amendment perspectives can help all of us understand how best to serve Americans' interests given the new realities affecting news organizations."

The workshops will consider a wide range of issues, including possible business and non-profit models for news organizations, the role of targeted behavioral and other online advertising, whether additional, limited antitrust exemptions may be necessary under these unique circumstances, and the implications of online news for both copyright protection and the availability of broadband access.

Let's see, I'm an avid consumer of news, I'm happier than an entire clambake at the "business practices" that have helped bring me literally millions of news sources at my fingertips...and now the commission that was created 95 years ago so that Progressive Era presidents could bust up trusts and monopolies is now holding hearings to lament that a long-monopolistic industry has screwed its own pooch? JUST. STOP. IT.

Link via Jeff Jarvis. Reason on newspaper bailouts here. And make sure to watch Reason.tv's latest, "All the President's Newsmen."

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  • ||

    I'm happier than an entire clambake

    Clambake! Clambake! ALL HAIL XENU THE MAGNIFICENT!

  • ||

    Clambake? Whatever happened to popsicle stands and shrimpfests?

    On topic, something's going to happen between the government and the newspapers, whether it's some kind of tax break or worse. Just like the bailouts, the rising chorus of voices for this is growing too large.

  • Brian||

    We need a strong news industry for our democracy to survive?

    The newspaper industry has been fucking our democracy in the ass for the better part of a century, with nary so much as the courtesy of a reacharound.

    You'll excuse me if I choose to keep my own council on the issue rather than accept the propaganda oozing forth from our statist president's Ministry of Trade.

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    People bake clams? I thought you fried or sauted them.

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    People bake clams? I thought you fried or sauted them.

    It's a New England thing, Brandybuck.

  • Stephen Smith||

    Um, this is actually a lot better than most commentary. Most people automatically dismiss the idea that online advertising will ever be much more than it is, but they put "online behavioral and targeted advertising" second. And non-profits aren't that un-libertarian, either (slightly so because of the tax breaks [i.e., subsidies], but not as bad as a BBC or anything like that).

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    Hmmm, I'm not sure I would call that "baking", but to each his own. Out here we do our "baking" with untaxed illegal marijuana.

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    Any newspaper that wanted to organize itself as a non-profit could do so now, I believe.

    No, the government aid will be much more direct and distorting than that.

    I wonder if these geniuses in D.C. have realized yet that a non-profit newspaper won't be able to give endorsements to candidates.

  • William||

    Newspapers are only good for wrapping breakables or lining pet kennels.

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