Speaking Government-Funded Truth to Government-Funded Power


Sure, everybody thinks they like journalism. But my guess is that what they really like is the moviefied, Redfordized myth of journalism: the arch newsroom chatter, the fedoras, the natty corduroy coats, the curmudgeonly editors and stacks of notebooks scrawled with confidential information, the idea that maybe if you spend enough time sniffing around town you'll bring down a mayor, a Congressman, or even a President. And it's that myth—a little bit true, but mostly made up by Hollywood and propagated by journalists who want to make their days spent reading government reports, meeting with mid-level bureaucrats, and calling think tankers seem far more glamorous than they really are—that helps groups like Free Press create enough public warm fuzzies so that they can count on people paying attention and maybe even being sympathetic when they come up with stuff like this, their most recent radical plan to save journalism by spending as much as $50 billion (!) in taxpayer funds on endowments, trusts, and a welfare-jobs-for-journalists program, just to name a few items from their array of ink-stained stupidity.

As TLF's Adam Thierer writes, it's the equivalent of a Soviet-style five-year plan for the media sector. He's got the full rundown and thorough rebuttals to all of it, and it's well worth reading. But this sort of nonsense flies in part because of the romantic myth that journalism has helped build for itself.

See Matt Welch for more myths employed by the journalism-bailout crowd ("accountability journalism" is disappearing!). Read more from Reason on journalism bailouts here.