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.