A few years ago I spent some time in Russia advising a new “independent” newspaper that was financed by the city council of the city I was visiting. I tried to explain to the editor and publisher that this really could not be called independence. But they felt liberated compared to their experiences with Communist Party control. Later, they would come to understand what I was talking about.
Now it seems that some journalism bigwigs in the United States are minimizing the dangers of a government-media connection. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger is in Davos, Switzerland, saying the United States government needs to help Old Media survive. This cockamamie idea turns the First Amendment on its head. The Founders wanted the media to be immune from government control so it would be free to act as a watchdog on government. Pretty simple idea, really.
If New Media types like Arrington and Jarvis understand the importance of the First Amendment and are willing to defend it, and Old Media will not, thatâ€™s the best reason Iâ€™ve heard so far to let the mainstream media go to its final reward.
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