Bailing Out and Counting Beans

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Earlier today, Reason.tv presented the case against bailing out the newspaper industry. But if you still doubt (as a few of my email correspondents have) that certain Democrats are very, very serious about saving newspapers that are "vital to American democracy," I submit this story from today's The Hill, in which House Majority Whip James Clyburn asks for a bailout of struggling minority-owned media outlets. It's not just "democracy" that is threatened when subpar newspapers run aground, but "diversity" too:

High-ranking House Democrats are urging the Treasury Department to prop up minority-owned broadcasters suffering from a lack of capital and lost advertising revenue amid the economic slump.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is leading an effort to convince Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to take "decisive action" by extending credit to this sector of the broadcasting industry.

Clyburn and other senior members, including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), argue that minority-owned broadcasters are sound businesses, but that the recession could undermine the government's efforts to diversify the airwaves.

A number of members from the Congressional Black Caucus signed the letter, too.

"While many jobs are at stake, a more important principle – the government's fundamental interest in promoting a diversity of voices, including service to underserved communities – is severely threatened," the members write in a draft of a letter that was scheduled to be sent Tuesday.

Whole thing here.