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Friday Barf Link

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You may have heard already that Washington Governor Chris Gregoire recently gave the embattled newspapers in her state a 40 percent tax break (or, as seattlepi.com's Dan Chase aptly put it, "Gov. Gregoire unlevels the playing field against job-creating new media companies"). But you probably didn't see longtime MSM gossip columnist Lloyd Grove declare himself ready to give that woman a Pulitzer!

As she becomes the first governor in the nation to funnel taxpayer money into her state's ailing newspaper industry this week, Washington state's Chris Gregoire is being hailed as a crusader for the survival of the press. In an exclusive interview, she talks about why the folding of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's print edition affected her so profoundly, her own brief stint as a journalist—and why she won't get a free pass from the reporters whose careers she's helping to save.

There are no ink stains on Chris Gregoire's power suits, but maybe she deserves a Pulitzer Prize for excellence in journalism anyway. With the stroke of her pen this week, the 62-year-old governor of Washington has done more to save her state's struggling newspaper business than two dozen genius publishers—and she just might have started a national trend.

NEXT: Reason.tv: Hasta La Vista, Arnold!

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  1. Only 40%?!! The dems in this state are slipping.

  2. GREAT!!! State sponsored papers, yeah that sounds right?

  3. From now on, I’ll refer to it as Pravda. And I’ll still refuse to subscribe to it.

  4. and why she won’t get a free pass from the reporters whose careers she’s helping to save

    Mm’kay. Children, lying is bad, mm’kay?

  5. I guess Ms. Gregoire forgot about the internet. If she’s worried people will stop being informed of her inane policies because one little newspaper fails, she should fear not. The multivaried journalists of the net will continue exposing her ineptitude to an even greater level than the “mainstream press”…FOR FREE!!!

    To illustrate my point, this article for example.

  6. Well people have to have something to read while they are in the bathroom.

    Gregoire signs bathroom access bill
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009207984_apwarestroomaccess1stldwritethru.html

  7. My car just died, guess I need to pay my mechanic more.

    The logic is amazing. I guess when it isn’t your money it’s easier to think that way. Let the presses fail, for some reason the people have decided they do not want their product. Heaven forbid that reason be politically based, although it is probably based more on format. Then again WSJ is still rockin along selling rags. (at least last time I heard)

  8. Dang – beat to the Pravda Joke….

    Perhaps the PI can go as Pravda and the Seattle Times can go as Izvestia.

    In any event, those fish wrappers suck. Why the hell would I want to paw through a smelly bunch of paper, jammed full of ads for crap I don’t want, then have to pay (either by trash or recycling) to get rid of it at the end of the day. Electronic is SO nice……

    Also – I laugh as I walk into work and pass by the paper boxes. Typically their headlines are on some trivial subject (Griffey is playing for the mariners was one) while overlooking the Lake Washington sized pool of red ink both the state and nation are in.

  9. Apropos of everything being turned on its head in this economic crisis:

    Democrats and liberals being the main purveyors (and defenders!) of corporate welfare, a newfound belief in “trickle down economics” and more…

    Gregoire got shot down on this once before when some ‘ride share’ startup company didn’t want to pay the ‘car rental’ tax. Gregoire wanted to eliminate this tax for these companies because… (coming from a Democrat, really raised my eyebrows) “high taxes stifle innovation”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), her ‘tax break’ got shut down faster than whore house that didn’t pay the protection money.

  10. The PI was a rag anyways.

    And, barf is right. That’s the perfect word to describe almost anything Chris Gregoire does.

    Dino Rossi might have sucked, too, but it would have been tough to suck harder.

  11. Paul, obviously ride-share companies (it wasn’t Zipcar, was it?) are the good kind of innovation that Gaia smiles upon. And The Gregoire shall be the one to determine good innovation from bad, thus spake Gaia.

  12. any one who lives in the puget sound area is familiar with this. Just another payoff to those who help keep the left wingers (not really even democrats any more) in power. Kinda like the “tax break” the tribes got after she hooked them up.

    I hate living here sometimes. I wish the other side would break away so i could move.

  13. See, not only will the papers now suck up to politicians for being given subsidies, but they’re going to start sucking up even before getting them in the hopes of getting them.

    If you thought the papers’ coverage of politicians was thin before, just wait.

  14. I hate living here sometimes.

    I like living here. You just have to learn to keep a low profile. If you make a dollar, some ‘for the children’ group will want to take it.

    If you do anything outdoors and people notice it, you’ll either get a fee slapped on you, herded into ever smaller ‘designated areas’, or banned altogether.

  15. I dunno. It is just a reduction in corporate tax rate, not like the government is giving them money.

    Too bad she can’t make the logical leap that if reducing corporate tax rates by 40% on newspapers will lead to more jobs for journalists, then reducing corporate tax rates across the board will lead to more jobs for everyone.

  16. I dunno. It is just a reduction in corporate tax rate, not like the government is giving them money.

    I’m all for tax cuts. But they need to be done uniformly. To give them to one segment of one industry but not to any others results in market distortion.

  17. To give them to one segment of one industry but not to any others results in market distortion.

    Agreed. But in the context of Auto and Banking Bailouts, allowing a dinosaur company to die a little slower is a minor distortion.

  18. “…Governor Chris Gregoire recently gave the embattled newspapers in her state a 40 percent tax break…”

    I guess I am behind on reading current libertarian theories on taxation, but is a “tax break” really the same as a subsidy?

    It is a real issue – the left has always attacked tax breaks – or “loopholes” as they call them – because they believe all wealth belongs to the state or something. I didn’t realize libertarians felt the same way.

    Sen. Kerry & Sen. Cardin (D-MD) are worried that if newspapers die, we will lose a voice for democracy. So they propose to make it easier for newspaper publishers to become tax-exempt foundations. But if a newspaper publisher goes that route, according to Sen. Cardin’s bill, they would not be allowed to endorse candidates or takes stands on political issues. I am still not sure how this protects the voice of democracy.

  19. Brandybuck is right. Give the cuts to all corporations. The government shouldn’t play favorites.

    If this tax cut was for an industry not favored by the left, activists would flood the media with images of human suffering and claim that every lost dollar of tax revenue would have eliminated that suffering.

  20. What’s black and white but apparently not read all over? Yeah.

    But as has been pointed out, it’s not like she’s cutting them a check. Reduce equal amounts government spending and I got no problem with the move.

  21. I don’t think I could get “ink stains,” “power suits,” “but…anyway,” “stroke of her pen,” “done more…than all the,” “struggling newspaper business,” “genius (adj.)” “just might,” and “started a national trend” all into one paragraph if I tried. I mean I really couldn’t do it.

  22. Hang on a second. Are we talking about tax breaks, or handing tax money to the newspapers? One of these things is not like the other.

    I’m all for any tax break, anytime, anywhere. Newspapers getting a tax break is fine, other businesses not getting the same break is not.

    -jcr

  23. Don’t talk like that Tim. If you work hard and believe in yourself, you can out-purple anyone’s prose.

    Except Greg Beato.

  24. If she wanted to guarantee that Washington state newspapers don’t investigate a repeat of the corrupt means by which she attained the governorship of Washington, this would be an excellent way to accomplish it.

  25. “There are no ink stains on Chris Gregoire’s power suit…”

    No, but there are cum stains from the MSM jizzing all over when they hear about free money from the government.

    They aren’t watch-dogs, they are retarded lap-dogs that need to be put down.

  26. a smelly bunch of paper, jammed full of ads for crap I don’t want

    Unlike the ad-free intertubes? The last paper I read was a pathetic, emaciated ghost of its former self, but the ads just sat there. They didn’t replicate into newer and more annoying ads, nor did they get up and hover over the copy I was trying to read, or blink and quiver like a crack whore. Yeah, it was boring, in a soothing kind of way.

  27. ed,

    Ad block. Yeah, it doesnt eliminate ALL the ads, but it handles the ones on this site just fine. 🙂

  28. Besides, maybe I wanna become a Leader of Tommorrow and specialize in Conflict Management.

  29. it doesnt eliminate ALL the ads

    So ad block is like sun block? Humans require some sun, and capitalism requires some ads…thus the balancing act: Make them too annoying and people block them. Make them too boring and people ignore them. Like Goldilocks, browsers and prospective purchasers must be led to the ad that is “just right.” But it has always been thus. New technologies, same old psychologies.

  30. The Seattle PI link links in turn to Danny Sullivan, who links to the text of the bill. Also, Sullivan kindly directs us to what he considers the relevant language:

    ‘Upon every person engaging within this state in the business of printing a newspaper, publishing a newspaper, or both, the amount of tax on such business is equal to the gross income of the business multiplied by the rate of 0.2904 percent.’

    A good lawyer could make a case that the term ‘newspaper’ includes daily journalism published by any method. After all, ‘publishing’ need not exclusively mean printing – the terms has been construed in other contexts to include internet stuff, and anyway, printing is separately listed. Although the the tax could be read to to benefit people at different points in the print chain (the actual printers and the publishers who design the print content), it could also be read, without too much violence to the language, to mean any business engaged in publishing daily journalism, online or off.

    The term ‘newspaper’ is not defined in the bill, but newspapers are alluded to in the definition of ‘periodical or magazine:’

    ‘As used in this section, “periodical or magazine” means a printed publication, *other than a newspaper,* issued regularly at stated intervals at least once every three months, including any supplement or special edition of the publication.’ [emphasis added]

    So does this mean that newspapers, periodicals and magazines are all forms of print publication, or is the language simply meant to categorically exclude newspapers from the definition of periodicals and magazines (or vice versa)?

    One of the online content providers should get to work on this.

  31. If I had a JiffyLube, it would tomorrow become The Jiffy Lube Examiner selling for $24.99 a copy, and look, there’s a coupon for a free oil change in it.

  32. Let me explain this in language so simple even a Democrat can understand.

    If the governemnt offered to pick up 40% of the cost of newsprint (one of the major costs of doing business in the dead tree news industry) we would rightfully call that a subsidy.

    When the government offers to pick up 40% of state taxes (another one of the costs of doing business in the dead tree news industry) it’s obviously not a subsidy.

    If the goivernment offers to cut taxes 40% on all businesses it’s starving the children, eliminating essential functions and raping the environment.

    Any questions?

  33. A good lawyer could make a case that the term ‘newspaper’ includes daily journalism published by any method

    He could, but he’d be incorrect. Words still have meanings, and even the stupidest juror knows that a newspaper is not the same thing as a newsblog.

  34. ‘He could, but he’d be incorrect. Words still have meanings, and even the stupidest juror knows that a newspaper is not the same thing as a newsblog.’

    You would be right if the question was even being decided by jurors, but it won’t be. The final decision will rest with judges, who are not uniformly inclined to respect plain-meaning interpretations of legal instruments.

    We need some computer-nerd judges who would be willing to come up with the creative interpretations I have suggested, and use enough legal rhetoric to make their decision appear logical and reasonable to the casual reader.

    Surely you are familiar with how this works?

  35. Juror = decider.

    Decider = anyone intelligent enough to know the difference
    between a stack of newsprint and a laptop.

  36. Decider = anyone intelligent enough to know the difference
    between a stack of newsprint and a laptop.

    What is the difference? Aren’t they both just tightly bundled collections of atoms? May I be excused from jury duty?

  37. What is the difference? Aren’t they both just tightly bundled collections of atoms? May I be excused from jury duty?

    I think juries would be improved* if we only impaneled those who ask to be excused.

    *Temporarily of course. Once jurors figgered out the new rules we’d be back to square one.

  38. J Sub D,

    Word…or if they made the process random so people couldn’t game the system.

  39. And limit premptory challenges to zero. And tighten the for cause definitions.

  40. So all those tax breaks you guys defend for other industries and wealthy people because they are tax breaks and taxes are evil aren’t the same as the ones for the news industry because they’re not cutting taxes for everyone so it’s not fair. Got it.

  41. Tony,

    Name any *industry* we have ever defended a tax break for?

    Across the board tax breaks get a lot of support, rules that apply to everyone, hell yes! But, targeted tax breaks get very little to know love on here.

  42. So all those tax breaks you guys defend for other industries and wealthy people because they are tax breaks and taxes are evil aren’t the same as the ones for the news industry because they’re not cutting taxes for everyone so it’s not fair. Got it.

    Thanks for that Tony. Your lack of a valid argument makes it seem that me agreeing with you earlier was just you evincing the blind pig phenomenon.

    I, and most libertarian leaning folks, do not cotton to targetted tax breaks for any-fucking-body. Many go so far as to protest the lower income taxes (by percentage) paid by the working poor and middle class. Y’know, the ol’ flat tax thingee. Others think a national sales tax is preferrable because (hold on to your hat here) rich people buy more stuff than poor people.

    You’ve been here long enough to know that. If you don’t, your reading comprehension skills are sorely lacking.

  43. robc, I could have gotten my post in quicker if I had limited it to my original thought which was –

    Tony, you’re a fuckin’ idiot.

  44. J sub D,

    That was my original thought too. I still might have beat you. 🙂

  45. Tony,
    We’d prefer taxes didn’t exist at all, but if we have them, they should be the same for everyone. It’s the only way to be fair.

  46. A good lawyer could make a case that the term ‘newspaper’ includes daily journalism published by any method

    The weekly my wife writes for would disagree. Justifiably. Of course, it’s running in the black, and has since the second year of publication. Turns out people will buy local news.

  47. Xeones! Where are you when we need you!

  48. He could, but he’d be incorrect. Words still have meanings, and even the stupidest juror knows that a newspaper is not the same thing as a newsblog.

    What about a newspaper that has both? In which the same, exact articles run in both versions of the “newspaper” both dead-tree and online. If those companies were smart, they take the extra money from that tax break, ax the dead-tree version, and put their money toward developing a kick-ass online copy.

    And for all the annoyingness of online ads, it makes me feel better that millions of trees aren’t going to something so completely obsolete. The majority of textbooks are next, I hope.

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  50. Zoltan defends online ads, is undermined by spammers such as “cathy”. No, but good points, zoltan.

  51. Paraphrasing Lloyd Groves:

    “Buy me, Governor, please buy me!”

  52. You would be right if the question was even being decided by jurors, but it won’t be. The final decision will rest with judges, who are not uniformly inclined to respect plain-meaning interpretations of legal instruments.

    Yeah, but I’d enjoy reading the opinion in which the judge explains that, legally, newspapers don’t have to have anything to do with paper.

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