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The Return Of Dumb Ideas: A Broadband Tax To Save Failing Newspapers

from the make-it-go-away dept

RobW points us to an opinion piece over at The Guardian, by David Leigh, who argues that there should be a £2 tax on every broadband connection sent to newspapers in order to prop them up for their own failures to adapt to a changing market place. He tosses out the usual tropes about how only newspapers can do real investigative reporting (what, like hacking voicemails the way Rupert Murdoch's journalists did?). Of course this is a complete myth. First of all, most newspapers do very little investigative reporting -- and UK papers are also somewhat famous for their ability to stretch the truth at times. Is this really something we want to reward?

The idea is hardly original. It's been suggested for years and seems to pop up in random places at random times. While it may be more reasonable than taxing Google to fund newspapers, it's still a horrifically bad idea. Leigh tries to work out how this would work, arguing that the sum would be divvied up among UK newspapers based on their web traffic. Of course, how you measure web traffic suddenly becomes very, very important. Leigh seems to assume this is easy, and that any such system wouldn't be gamed -- which it would. On top of that, he fails to recognize that the second you base such a huge sum of potential money on purely one metric, news sites would optimize solely on that metric, even if they're not "gaming" the system. So, expect plenty of attempts at sensationalistic stories and the like, rather than the thoughtful investigative reporting he thinks they're going to get.

And how do you define who gets access to the money in the first place? Leigh thinks he has that worked out too... but he does not:
There would be no insuperable problems in defining "news providers". The starting point would be to designate those organisations already classed by the state as zero-rated newspapers under the 1994 VAT legislation : "Newspapers … issued at least once a week in a continuous series under the same title … [which] contain information about current events of local, national or international interest. Publications which do not contain a substantial amount of news are not newspapers."

Other original news providers could subsequently apply to the independent levy board for admission to the scheme, case-by-case. But there would have to be a reasonable size threshold for admission, perhaps set at 100,000 monthly users, and also some rules to exclude content aggregators.
Ok, so that starts out by favoring the very companies who have done the least to adapt to changing times and ignores upstarts who have worked hard to build audiences and business models that work. And then you have to "apply" to get access in a long bureaucratic process where a small group of people (probably pulled from newspapers) gets to pick and choose? That's not how you build innovative companies with innovative business models. And, really, why the ban on "content aggregators"? There is this ongoing argument among old school newspaper people who seem to think that "aggregators" are the enemy -- despite the fact that they send original news sites more traffic and more users, and many aggregators expand into original content production themselves as well. Either way, lots of news sites would start applying, just because there's a ton of cash sitting there, and they'd all just start trying to optimize for the metric to get in.

But, of course, the real problem with all of this is the idea that it ever makes sense to tax a new technology to prop up those who failed to innovate, failed to adapt and couldn't compete. If they can't do it, let them fail. Contrary to Leigh's rather myopic view of the world, others will come in to fill the need, and they'll do so with innovative business models that don't require a tax. Really, Leigh's piece is best summed up by the first comment, from user "romandavid" who noted:
"A £2-a-month levy on automobiles could save our horse and cart business."
Exactly. If this got approved, every other disrupted industry would seek the same thing. Record labels? Movie studios? You bet. Travel agents? Absolutely. Really, what industry wouldn't want to add their own "tax" to the internet to try to pretend that we still lived in the 1980s? Thankfully, nearly all of the comments on the article seem to be taking the same general stance, that Leigh's idea is completely ridiculous and self-serving, without any reason or merit.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Tim K (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Why is there this idea out there that dying businesses need to be artificially kept alive?

     

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    Duke (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Some facts which may or may not be relevant

    That would be David Leigh, journalist and assistant editor of The Guardian; a newspaper who's parent company is making losses of something like £100,000 a day.

    It is about 12th in national circulation figures (with 1/10th of the leader) but apparently has the second most visited website of UK newspapers.

    Just a few facts which might, or might not be relevant, to his suggestions.

    On the other hand, The Guardian does at least try to do journalism, unlike some of its competitors which are more interested in securing readers/page views than actually investigating things; the Daily Mail, 2nd in circulation,and most visited news site (iirc in the world) has a top article at the moment on someone's account of how they were able to make money from a supermarket's voucher scheme, and their top side story is about some celebrity's dress splitting open at the Emmys (with pictures, of course). Still, at least we have the BBC.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Some facts which may or may not be relevant

    "Still, at least we have the BBC."

    Considering the fact that Cameron and co. have a much ingrained hatred of the service, I wouldn't count on that being around forever.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    ...and right after they get theirs, the rest will all be standing in line saying they need some of this free money for bail out too. Your internet connection would wind up costing you hundreds per month and it isn't worth that to me.


    I'd drop internet.

     

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    abc gum, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Oh, look - shiny new thing - let's tax it.

     

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    monkyyy, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    nothing i quite as mind numbingly stupid as the capitalism corrupted by the state

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    I have heard some brain farts in my time but this takes the biscuit, the arse biscuit, if you will.

     

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    Yakko Warner (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    US internet sucks

    There are almost 20m UK households that are paying upwards of £15 a month for a good broadband connection...


    A quick google translates that to $24.29

    I pay Comcast $69.99 for a "good broadband connection".

    Time for me to go into my corner and pout about how much I pay for the only viable option I have for internet....

     

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    monkyyy, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    because capitalism as an ideal of letting people do whatever they want a long as they find a way to profit off it......

    .....isnt around anymore,look at the 10 steps from the communism manifiso, and tell me how many of them have been completed w/ nil public support and compete bipartisan support in such as way that the commies wouldnt be happy about (im looking at u fed reserve)

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

    Taxes for Everyone. Hooray!

    Yes, yes, this is a great idea, let's do this. And we can expand on it. We can tax cable TV to prop up broadcast TV--then tax satellite TV to prop up cable--then tax Netflix to prop up satellite. Of course skimming 10% off the top for administration fees. Oh, oh, and then we can tax audiobooks to prop up print books, and tax e-books to prop up audiobooks. Oh and vinyl, we can tax cds to prop up vinyl, and mp3s to prop up cds, and streaming services to prop up mp3s. And cars--can't forget about them, we can tax fuel efficient cars to prop up the gas guzzlers, and tax hybrids to prop up the fuel efficient ones, and the plug-in electrics to prop up the hybrids. We can have a never-ending cascade of taxes and fees flowing all around making the world a better place for... for... ah... I don't know... er... something... maybe... rainbows?... ponies?...

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Re: US internet sucks

    And me, because I pay about that much for craptastic ADSL that would have been considered slow 10 years ago.

     

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    monkyyy, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Re: US internet sucks

    thats the uk, our internet speeds have been falling behind most developed place

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re:

    There is no -ism on the left of the political spectrum which supports levying taxes to support a private business.

    This is a right wing attempt to confiscate wealth from people and give it to business.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    Well, when you give a bunch of money to the people who make the rules, and then tell the people who you've now given a bunch of money to that your business is doing poorly and not going to give them money anymore.....

    Either a) you're flat-out telling the people who make the rules, "get us money or you're cut off" or b) the people who make the rules think, "uh oh, if they fail, we lose our money!" and the end result is weekend-at-burnies'ing companies which should just go away.

    Well, either that, or it's a bunch of people who have no understanding of the internet and think something of value is lost if the old newspapers go away.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Taxes for Everyone. Hooray!

    This is, without a doubt, the single best idea I have ever heard.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:50pm

    The time has come to let the dinosaurs die.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Re: US internet sucks

    They turn off the internet at midnight in many parts of the UK though.

     

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    Jim B., Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Starting a newspaper myself now

    Hey, I've decided due to this story to start a news paper in the UK myself. Anyone want to be put on my subscription role so that I can partake of this bounty?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    I think what you guys miss out on here is the role played by good investigative jorunalism (which costs money!) in society, to act as a control of corrupt elites. The phone hacking scandal here in teh UK was uncovered by a journalist, who worked for years at the story, similarly the MP expenses scandal last year...not to start on issues such as google news result filtering, which make online news pretty problematic at the moment.

     

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    Duke (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    I don't know, but dying businesses seem to like keeping it artificially alive. There is a nice (and often-referenced) quote by Robert A. Heinlein about this from 1939, so this isn't a new idea. It's a common quote, but worth noting in full:
    There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.

     

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    Tunnen (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: US internet sucks

    Back in my day, we paid $15/month to connect at 14400 bps. That's not including the other $20/month or so for the extra phone line we needed as well. People are so spoiled now... =P

     

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    Tunnen (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Taxes for Everyone. Hooray!

    Well, they are taxing my income to prop up the government... So if we are going to save one inefficient and out of touch dinosaur, we might as well save them all.

    j/k =P

     

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  23.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    No, I don't think we're missing anything. We all understand the role quality journalism plays in society. We just want the news agencies to develop a 21st century business model that will work in todays market, not just go whinging to big mommy guvmint to force their 20th century way of doing things on the people who don't want to consume their news that way anymore.

     

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  24.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Starting a newspaper myself now

    I'll sign myself up 100k times if you split the money with me!

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: US internet sucks

    I see your $15 for 14400, and raise you dialing into CompuServe and private BBSs with my 300 baud Commodore VIC-Modem--and paying the hourly connection fee and long distance charges to do it (Bog knows I had to mow a crapload of lawns to pay for that). =P

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    We should tax them for posting about events that other people did.

     

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    ookboo, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Best line in the article...

    Other original news providers could subsequently apply to the independent levy board for admission to the scheme,...

    well put "A scheme"

     

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    Tunnen (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: US internet sucks

    I see your 300 baud modem and raise you smoke signals. The problem was my neighbour throwing interference into my communication by having a bonfire in his backyard. Lukily he updated to a new magical smokeless heating system soon afterwards. As far as the lawn mowing, GET OFF MY LAWN! =P

     

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  29.  
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    Yakko Warner (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: US internet sucks

    I had a terminal program for my C=64 that let me specify the baud rate. I could crank my 300 baud modem up to about 450 before it would drop too many characters to be useful. Whoo boy, text was just flying across the screen then!

     

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  30.  
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    Loki, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

    First of all, most newspapers do very little investigative reporting

    Most of them prefer to do what I called edited reporting. I was part of a group years ago that would routinely compare and analyze high profile news stories from a wide variety of news outlets, and it was quite fascinating to see how frequently the more independent and unaffiliated news agencies, or independent bloggers would have more generally well rounded and inclusive stories, and how often the larger news agencies would add or omit certain details depending on how they wanted to spin the story.

     

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    Watchit (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would say this isn't a right-wing or a left-wing situation, I think it's more of a corrupt-politicians-wing (aka all of them) situation. It just so happened that newspaper lobbyist were paying more to the right-wing at the time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Some facts which may or may not be relevant

    On the other hand, The Guardian does at least try to do journalism, unlike some of its competitors which are more interested in securing readers/page views than actually investigating things; the Daily Mail, 2nd in circulation,and most visited news site (iirc in the world) has a top article at the moment on someone's account of how they were able to make money from a supermarket's voucher scheme, and their top side story is about some celebrity's dress splitting open at the Emmys (with pictures, of course). Still, at least we have the BBC.

    So what you're saying is the people have spoken and they are more interested in super market voucher schemes than whatever the Guardian has to offer.

    Got it. The Guardian must be incredibly boring.

     

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    abc gum, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: US internet sucks

    lol-wat??

     

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    JoeFlash, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    Fire Cooked vs. Sushi

    Tax users of Fire for making Sushi less popular. (goes back to the caveman era)

     

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  35.  
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    PT (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Some facts which may or may not be relevant

    Well given that the law states "Publications which do not contain a substantial amount of news are not newspapers", if the UK government were to apply the proper classification to the Daily Mail and the Sun, the country could be out of its fiscal hole overnight.

     

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    monkyyy, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    i said "nil public support and compete bipartisan support"
    either prove that wrong or stop making this a stupid left/right namecalling fight

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    lol

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 4:04pm

    The Theatre??

    Whats the deal here? Live action actors in the theatre haven't been losing their shit since the invention of movies bemoaning that they aren't mega rich. Whats the deal here? How is it that they can expect to always have to work a second job when musicians, movie makers, newspapers, etc all feel entitled to free, massive amounts of money? I'd say theatre, being a driver of culture, deserves free money before every other business that isn't as popular as it was in its heyday. Maybe its because history shows that theatre never made many people rich and musicians, "journos", hollywood, etc, need to wake up to that fact- that they are not entitled to a comfortable, large income and had better get a second job if they feel their income is too little.

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: US internet sucks

    You win, I only go back as far as Morse Code on the telegraph (man, it takes FOREVEH to watch a YouTube video that way). =P

     

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  40.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 5:06pm

    Re:

    Yes, how dare they profit off the work of others without paying for it. Those filthy infringing pirates.

     

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  41.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: US internet sucks

    Hey, the Internet needs to sleep too. What are you, some Foxconn slave driver? How would you like being asked millions of questions and delivering thousands of hours of porn per second and not have a break? Yet, I try to get a 6 year old to make shoes for only 18 hours per day and I'm the slave driver. Lousy double standard...

    =P

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 6:25pm

    There are plenty of taxes levied to do thing that the government thinks is for the greater good of the public. That is to say that the actions of the public are against their own good, and as such, the law makers are required to step in to apply rules that are unnatural but obtain the desired results.

    One of my personal faves is putting a tax on gas to support public transit. It is possibly the most self-defeating tax in the world, because if it encourages people to drive less and instead take the subsidized public transit, there will in facr be less money to subsidize the public transit - because less gas was sold.

    There are certainly enough people who feel that the print media business is significant enough and important enough to merit protection and support. It's perhaps one of the best cases where they can see the loss of information and news, and realize that there is little to replace it. Remember, most websites depend on the print news as sources of their own content. This story is based on a piece from the Guardian (print paper).

    While the public and advertisers may not be supporting print journalism directly, they do profit from it all the time. A tax like this, while appearing to be regressive, may in fact be supporting what is good for the public.

    See Mike, it's not always just about numbers. Sometimes you have to go looking at the larger cause and effect to see what may be going on.

     

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    abc gum, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    That's pretty funny, do continue now.

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 24th, 2012 @ 8:26pm

    Re:

    The thing is--if we are going to support journalism--is propping up failing print newspapers the proper way to go about it? Print newspapers are only one method of transmitting news to the public (and looking at their falling subscription numbers--not a very good one, or one that the people want). People don't get their news from print newspapers anymore--they get it on the internet or television. Maybe we should funnel money at purely internet or television based news outlets if we truly think quality journalism requires money to create.

    This is the problem with levies like these--it isn't about funding journalism--it's about propping up failing print newspapers; two entirely different things that the print newspapers keep trying to conflate.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

    Statism

    Statism (The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy) is what Obama truly believes in.

    June 8th, 2012, President Obama said, “…the Private sector is doing fine, where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy has to do with state and local government…” YouTube

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re:

    " People don't get their news from print newspapers anymore--they get it on the internet or television."

    What you have a is a problem of delivery versus source.

    Too much of the internet (including Techdirt, Wired, and other popular internet sites) base the content of their sites on "reported in this newspaper" or "according to that newspaper". It seems that for the most part, only the print people are actually doing very much work to get the news, aside from what falls on their head.

    Television? Burning building, film at 11! The most in depth for most TV news is how big the weather girl's cleavage is.

    So there really is a problem; Most of the journalism being done is for the print media (newspapers, magazines, reviews, journals, etc), and most of the places people go to read it are sponging off of them.

    So you could give a ton of money to internet sites, but you wouldn't have more material, because they would be losing their sources.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quite apart from the fact that the US doesn't have anything like a political left wing, never mind a major socialist or communist party. You have two near identical, very right wing parties and then have to pretend to have major political differences or what would be the point in voting every 10 minutes. You'll know when you have a left wing, it won't be supported by the wealthy as both republicans and democrats are.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 9:42pm

    Re:

    Capitalism can not be corrupted by the state, on the other hand capitalism definitely can and has corrupted many a state.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, a lot of techdirt is
    according to this or that news source ......
    and then provides the actual data which is quoted in said news source as supporting silly/stupid/criminal plan and shows why it doesn't do anything of the kind.

    So, yeah, without certain news sources techdirt in particular would have less to write about, but then they wouldn't need to be writing it because the disinformation wouldn't be out there in the first place.

    Because everyone knows that despite there being no valid figures demonstrating any harm from piracy, piracy is a problem that needs to be tackled with enhanced legislation massively increased enforcement.
    Everyone knows that more people have lost work in the movie industry due to piracy, than have ever worked in the movie industry from it's inception until today and that more money is lost to the music industry yearly due to piracy than the cumulative total money made by the music industry from the birth of recorded music until today.
    Record box takings year after year are the ultimate proof that cams are killing cinema and despite massive ticket price hikes the movie industry has not totally eliminated the audiences.
    Something must be done.

     

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    monkyyy, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Re:

    to the state is corrupted before it even exists, otherwise kings would be just rulers cause capitalism doesnt get to corrupt them

    while on the otherhand the state can take control of some very very core levels of the market, like its currency, peoples incomes, subitys, and flat out price increasing; and then sells the rulebook to the highest bidder,

    it was the government stealing to rule book from nature and putting it up for sell, not nature giving its book to the government

     

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  51.  
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    monkyyy, Sep 24th, 2012 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re: Taxes for Everyone. Hooray!

    government is very much in touch
    “If we were merely dealing with the law of averages, half of the events affecting our nation's well-being should be good for America. If we were dealing with mere incompetence, our leaders should occasionally make a mistake in our favor. We . . . are not dealing with coincidence or stupidity, but with planning and brilliance.” -grey allen

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Television? Burning building, film at 11! The most in depth for most TV news is how big the weather girl's cleavage is.
    You could say the same about most print media also. And it depends on where you get your TV news--I stay away from the networks; but PBS does an excellent job of televised journalism.
    So you could give a ton of money to internet sites, but you wouldn't have more material, because they would be losing their sources.
    Or..I don't know...maybe they could get their own sources and create their own material with that money. And they'd probably be more efficient at it too. Where do you think print journalists get their story ideas from? Press releases, tips from other journalists and insiders, wire service stories, do you think these will all disappear if the newspapers fail? I doubt it.

    Yes, historically journalism has been done for print media, but throwing tax dollars at print media isn't going to solve the problem of no one wanting dead tree newspapers. If you want to fund journalism fund journalists, not dead tree newspapers. Or better yet let the market sort itself out. If people value quality journalism, some one will find a way to profit from it. As much as print newspapers did? Probably not--but they'll be a hell of a lot less waste. Don't waste our money propping up an inefficient system merely because that's the way we always did it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 12:15am

    To be fair, a lot of printed news media is
    according to this or that news source ......
    and then provides the actual (or made up--depends on what will sell more papers/magazines--you'd have to put the paper/magazine down to check the sources online) data which is quoted in said news source (if they feel like telling you they got this somewhere else) as supporting silly/stupid/criminal plan and shows why it doesn't do anything of the kind.

    So, yeah, without certain news sources printed news media in particular would have less to write about, but then they wouldn't need to be writing it because the disinformation wouldn't be out there in the first place.

    All news media works this way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: US internet sucks

    Yes, to stop us from having to read much of the evening-spouted guff coming from the US at that time (you're 5-8 hours behind us). ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:17am

    Re: The Theatre??

    In fact, most film/TV actors who want to be seen as 'serious' actually try and do theatre, because that has a certain 'cachet'. A lot of the well-admired Btitish thespians started in theatre before moving to film/TV (i.e. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan).

    If you count panto (ugh!) then a lot of other people use it as a vehicle to stay 'relevant' when they aren't able to be splashed all over the gossip pages...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 5:37am

    no tax needed

    here are some tried and tested options:
    - paid advertisement
    - subscription(paywall) to remove ads
    - subscription(paywall) grants acess to the full stories of investigative journalism (nonpaying customers only get to see the first paragraph of those, while the copy/paste headlines remain free for all to attract traffic)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "US doesn't have anything like a political left wing"

    But but, I hear a lot about the horrible things those lefties and lib-rals are up to ...

    Are you uber riche? - Are you a pathological liar? - If you answered yes to these questions, you may have a bright future as a politician.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:27am

    Re: Statism

    Your attempt is bad and you should feel bad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re:

    "Capitalism can not be corrupted by the state"

    Care to elaborate?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Re: Taxes for Everyone. Hooray!

    This could be a new reality tv show - Extreme Circle Jerking

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:39am

    not seen this guy write one sensible article yet. doesn't give me much faith in The Guardian

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, many automobile parts were delivered via horse and buggy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Dave, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 1:15pm

    Total twaddle

    I'm sure folk would more than happy to fork out a subsidy to prop up an ailing business - oh and there's that shop on the corner who's going through hard times, not to mention the pub down the road that looks like it's going under. What about the factory t'other side of town that looks on the rocks? Sure I'm gonna dip into MY pocket for every Tom, Dick or Harry that thinks they deserve a hand-out, especially the newspaper business that hasn't exactly had a good press (joke - get it?) lately with the NOTW case, etc. Stuff THAT idea where the sun doesn't shine. Preposterous cheek and a damn sauce if you ask me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Mr Heinlein, while a respected author, was considered by many to be a bit of a crackpot when it came to political ideas. His best interpretation of things was to tell the govenerment to leave you alone and sleep with a gun under your pillow. It's sort of the mentality that supports the "armed militias" that litter the US like so much garbage.

    Nobody wants to be guaranteed a profit - only the right to seek one without interference by those who would attempt to profit unjustly from your efforts.

    It's an amusing quote from a man that was fairly out of touch even in his day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nobody wants to be guaranteed a profit

    The media companies' actions are a lot more convincing than your words, and they're not saying the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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