Why Is Washington Singling Out Newspapers For A Tax Break Instead Of Journalism?

from the these-things-make-no-sense dept

We've discussed in the past the rather annoying tendency of some bemoaning the trouble facing newspapers (due to bad business decisions, such as taking on too much debt) of confusing "newspapers" for "journalism." They all too often assume that newspapers are the only source of journalism, when that simply isn't true. Unfortunately, it appears that politicians are guilty of the same basic fallacy. With reports that Washington State has created a special tax break for newspapers, Danny Sullivan is asking why isn't the tax break for journalism? By singling out newspapers, the politicians are effectively punishing journalists who work for other forms of media who didn't screw up their business, and rewarding the newspaper owners and management who made so many bad decisions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 5:57am

    Are the newspapers "too big to fail" ?
    Sounds similar to the bailout of banks, where those who were fiscally responsible are not given a hand out.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:22am

    where the fuck is MY tax break!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Let them die

     

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  4.  
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    bob, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Because

    THE NY Times is a Slobbering Sycophant for Obama and his administration, as are many other "papers".

     

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  5.  
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    Dave Stephenson, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Perhaps we are overlooking one thing...

    Washington state has a huge pulp and paper industry that produces newsprint. It has been dying and the death of printed newspapers could be the dirt thrown on it's grave.

     

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  6.  
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    Tgeigs, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Re: Because

    "THE NY Times is a Slobbering Sycophant for Obama and his administration, as are many other "papers"."

    Fine, then by that logic: AIG was a Slobbering Sycophant for Bush and his administration, as were many other "financial institutions".

    Or maybe this isn't a Repub/Demo issue. Maybe instead it's simply an accountability/enabler issue. Seems to me there is only one issue to be decided: Do you believe in goverment bailouts. If you do, then the question of why NYT gets the bailout when other journalism outposts who didn't make bad decisions and aren't in trouble doesn't make any sense. You don't bail out the ones that are okay, you bail out the ones that are in trouble.

    Or, like me, you keep government the hell out of it, and if 10 million people get laid off, so be it. Wouldn't that mean that our country/economy/etc. couldn't support having those extra 10 million people? I know its not zero sum, but perhaps this is just something we have to endure as the result of that exponential growth we've had over the past 200 years?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    Sry Mike no Tax Break for you.

    i believe the reason Newspapers are getting Tax break instead of Journalism, is to help newspapers get an edge over online news and blogs, (they complained enough, tried suing Google and finally got what they wanted).

     

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  8.  
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    John Doe, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    The squeeky wheel gets the grease

    Looks like the moaning and groaning by the newspaper industry is paying off.

     

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  9.  
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    Jeffry Houser (profile), May 14th, 2009 @ 6:42am

    I read a quote about government and business once once along the lines of:

    If it moves, tax it.
    If it is moving too fast, regulate it
    If it stops moving subsidize it

     

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  10.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), May 14th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    No bailout for you!

    Mike...are you just mad you (bloggers) aren't getting a break? =p
    Joking aside...are newspapers the only part of the journalism business failing? I don't hardly hear about broadcast or online news systems having issues monetizing their content (unless, of course, it is a newspaper with an online offering also). In that case there is something definitely wrong with print news. Technology has made the delivery of information more efficient. News on print is the inefficient(ie. slow, costly) way to deliver news these days.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Looks like the moaning and groaning by the newspaper industry is paying off.

    Yeah, Pay to them, More economy trouble for everyone else.

    LET THEM DIE!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    Decade-ago earthquakes, roads not yet repaired, and over capacity. oh my!

    I wonder how much longer before the Alaska Way Viaduct and the no-longer-useful 520 bridge becomes toll-based to pay for this and other private interests.

    But yes, let's give the money away to the papers, please, because planning and saving, be it for day-to-day business, or even transportation infrastructure is so 1960s!

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    Won't somebody think of the trees?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    Journalist do not pay the politicians enough. The newspaper are organized enough to hirer lobbies and payoff/bribe the right officials.

    You do realize the US government is run by and for the wealthy right?

     

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  15.  
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    Sean T Henry, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Re: No bailout for you!

    Why not get a group of bloggers to create a "newspaper" so they can get the break just by sending out printed versions.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Re: Perhaps we are overlooking one thing...

    Excellent point

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't most paper made from trees grown to make paper?

     

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  18.  
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    Osno, May 14th, 2009 @ 7:06am

    I wonder how objective will the supporters of The Only True Journalism be now on state affairs by the people that gave them the tax break.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 7:34am

    I've yet to see any journalist abilities fromt THIS forum. Hell, the ONLY places I see any close resembelances are from previous hard copy that went online...
    Online blogs are b.s., they ARE NOT JOURNALISTS. This sure as fuck isn't... All Tech dirt does is post from other sources, and doesn't even offer indepth followup.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Re:

    sure, I think of how great it would be to have a tree hugger tied to the tree when it is cut down for another peace of furniture... If the face imprint of the treehuger was part of the furniture, I would buy it. You offering to help me pick out new furniture?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Another Bailout? Plus I still get to pay for the paper? Hmm

    So, let me get this right:

    If sustained, there will undoubtedly be a Government windfall elsewhere, which will probably be made up by increasing either sales or property taxes. So it's possible I will be expected to forgo a government service I currently receive, or there will be the expectation to pay another way for it.

    *And* I still get the privilege to pay for a newspaper? What a deal! Taxpayers get screwed in the front and screwed again in the back.

    Well, as you know, times are tough, and I've just found a reason to cancel my Seattle Times subscription.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    FIRE YOUR EDITOR.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Punishing journalists

    You could easily shorten and generalize
    "the politicians are effectively punishing journalists who work for other forms of media who didn't screw up their business, and rewarding the newspaper owners and management who made so many bad decisions."

    to

    "the politicians are effectively punishing responsible people and rewarding irresponsible people."

    Well, of course they are. That's what liberals do. Why would you expect something different?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re:

    That cows are raised to become steaks doesn't stop PETA from complaining.

     

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  25.  
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    A Seattleite, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Lost a paper...

    Not that it's an excuse, but Seattle did just lose one of its papers (as the article explained). There was a bit of an "Awww... but the legacy!" thing surrounding the PI shuttering, this tax break is probably just an attempt to make sure the Times doesn't do the same...

    That said, it's still quite silly.

    Honestly though, I've watched my city spend money in increasingly stupid ways over the past few years... after a point you just stop being surprised. For a fun troll, ask someone from the Greater Seattle Area what they think about the city's response to replacing the Viaduct.

     

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  26.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), May 14th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Corrupt Liberal Government In WA

    I live here.

    This unwarranted tax subsidy is a naked pay-off to Seattle/Tacoma liberal print media for looking the other way for years, ignoring voter fraud, waste and malfeasance.

    My Wife recently cut her subscription to Sunday only.

    Sooo, I'm now actively working on getting her to dump the Seattle-Slimes entirely.

    (Must think of alternate Sunday Morning activity for her.)

     

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  27.  
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    Big Eddie, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    It's Payback Time

    The newspapers will get their break for the exact reason the DC school voucher program is being discontinued and the unions will get their elimination of secret ballots. It's payback time, only it's done with our tax dollars. There will be more of this type of action taken. Just give it time.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Our system is based on rewarding bad behavior while punishing good behavior.

    Taxpayers that were smart in their finances? Punished. Stupid in their finances? Rewarded.

    Banks who were smart? Punished. Stupid? Rewarded.

    Car manufacturers? Well, you get the point.

    Why not print media?

    Who is next?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Guy One, May 14th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Because

    hey just cause some one is not an uber obama fan does not automatically make him a Bush fan

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Beefcake, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Squeal Like A Greased Politician

    I'm certain the Allied Daily Newspaper lobby had nothing to do with it whatsoever.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Tgeigs, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Because

    A. You are absolutely right

    B. Except w/that guy, I mean, c'mon

    C. When are people going to learn that the difference between rep and dem in this country is nominal at best. They're both criminals.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    anymouse, May 14th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    But the paper industry is going to survive (at least one company will)

    Washington State just passed a bill that requires all State higher eduction institutions in Washington to start using paper produced with 100% recycled content (may be post consumer, not positive on that part).

    I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the individual who was responsible for getting the bill pushed through also happens to own the ONLY paper company in Washington that produces paper that meets the requirements (shipping on paper from out of state is even more costly than buying it from them, so no other options really).

    So not only are we (Higher Education) getting our budget cut by almost 30% over the next 2 years (Higher Ed got the shaft in this budget, and we get to pass it on to students with a 14% per year tuition increase that I'm sure they just love), we are now required to pay a premium on 'recycled' paper just to support the failing greys port paper business (name changed to protect... who really cares... it's close enough to be recognizable for government work).

    I wouldn't be surprised if this newspaper 'bailout' plan also included requirements on the type of paper that they will use for printing (that also just happens to only be available from one paper company in Washington).

    Wouldn't it be great if we could all pass legislation to ensure the survival of our own businesses?

    I think my tinfoil hat is too tight today, I'm getting a headache (or the rays are getting thru).....

     

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  33.  
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    Dan, May 15th, 2009 @ 12:27am

    Its the business analogy to the Peter Principal or reward failure. We kill welfare because the little people failed but bail out AIG, GM from their failures, therefore resurrecting them to fail again and again.

     

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