Obama Open To Helping Newspapers, To Avoid Reporting Becoming 'All Blogosphere'

from the oh-really? dept

Mathew Ingram points us to the news that President Obama has indicated that he’s at least open to hearing bills that would help bailout the newspaper industry because he’s afraid of reporting becoming “all blogosphere”:

“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.”

That seems like an odd way to characterize things. First, it seems odd to lump the medium in with a certain type of reporting. There are plenty of “real reporters” who do plenty of “serious fact-checking” within the blog world too. Blogs are just a publishing medium. Yes, because there’s a lower barrier to entry, you do end up with a much larger absolute number of bloggers, many of whom are just giving opinion. But the idea that there aren’t blogging reporters is pure folly. In fact, I’d argue that the serious blogs on certain subjects to a lot more to “put stories in context” than your average newspaper reporter, who writes up a quick take and moves on to the next big thing. Topic-specific blogs are often much more accurate, much more detailed, and much more willing to focus on context than newspaper reporting. So why rescue one bunch of reporters, just because they happen to print on paper?

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Comments on “Obama Open To Helping Newspapers, To Avoid Reporting Becoming 'All Blogosphere'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Free Speech Censorship on It's Way!

And here it comes the government again trying to silence the voice of the people. Would they ever learn?

Besides, news don’t need bills to survive, they just have to embrace the new times ahead and be creative in the forms they deliver their goods.

I know why he wants this. Is because the bloggosphere imploded his grand vision for healthcare. People lost faith in the news media and are debating it themselves at forums everywhere and this of course is bad because nobody can manipulate what thousands of people are saying.

He wanted reporters to go “fact check” with him first instead of having to explain anything to the people directly LoL

Call me Al says:

Seems to me that the traditional news industry is winning the propaganda war. They’ve convinced the President of the US of A, the first President to be elected due to widespread use of the internet as a great tool for communication, that bloggers are bad.

Its much like the music and film industry who have been able to choose the vocabulary that is used in the debate, with all the negative connotations that go with it.

George Parigian Jr. (user link) says:

Re: "bloggers are bad"

First off, the President has not been “convinced” of anything by the newspapers. They are part of the same corporate interests that helped elect him.

He is just doing the bidding of corporate America, which is what he was put there to do. Obama is the new “frontman” for a very old and powerful ruling elite.

Blogs represent a challenge to them, because they want to control the dissemination of information, and have thus used the traditional media as a propaganda tool for many years.

Obama is only doing what he (as a frontman)is supposed to do, prop up the old system!

moo says:

There is potential for good here, if they actually take the framing Mike uses, i.e. rather than the medium, the style of reporting.

Subsidies or however they plan to prop up the industry could be directed at anyone who meets some basic criteria for original reporting, perhaps applied to covering things like local government, and do it in a cost-effective manner (hey, lets save money on ink and paper!)

Ok, that sounds mostly silly, but it would be better than just directly bailing out the established newspapers

wirtes (profile) says:

You guys are SOOOO blogosphere!

So what did Obama actually say?

  • He’d READ a rescue bill for newspapers.
  • There is much less context and fact checking in the news today.
  • When you loose context/fact checking in favor of opinion/dogma, you end up with a bunch of people yelling at each other.

I agree with the president on all three points. Obama is fond of standing in Detroit or Ohio and saying “these jobs are gone, and they’re not coming back. We need a new plan.” He needs to say the same thing to newspapers.

Unfortunately for newspapers, as they were bought up by large conglomerates, corporate management found that it was cheaper to make a paper that consisted largely of ads (display and classified) with syndicated content wrapped around them. Actual reporting, when it occurred, was limited due to the expense of actually reporting.

This worked fine when there were only one or two sources for this syndicated content in any given region.

But the internet exploded that monopoly on syndicated content. Now there are literally thousands of sources for the same content. Oh, yeah, and there’s Craig’s List. Suddenly, people don’t want to pay for day-old syndicated content printed on dead trees.

If Obama rescues newspapers — which I’m betting he won’t — you can be assured that he’ll make actually reporting on your community a requirement for rescue.

zaven (profile) says:

Re: You guys are SOOOO blogosphere!

“If Obama rescues newspapers — which I’m betting he won’t — you can be assured that he’ll make actually reporting on your community a requirement for rescue.”

Or how about Obama does nothing; And if a newspaper starts to do actual reporting again and that’s what the people want, more people will subscribe. Problem solved. Market fixes itself. No government intervention necessary. End of story.

harvardjanitor7 (profile) says:

Re: You guys are SOOOO blogosphere!

well i’m glad there’s at least ONE comment here that wasn’t made by a total fool.

but i don’t see how any bills can save the newspaper industry. it looks like we’re all going to inevitably depend on the internet for information, and without people properly getting paid to fact check and go out there and find information, we’re going to fall into some dark times indeed.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Guys, calm down, it's a typo...

Seriously. You guys need to relax. All of this hullabaloo over a minor typo.

“Obama Open To Helping Newspapers, To Avoid Reporting Becoming ‘All Blogosphere'”

You see, that SHOULD actually read ‘All Blagosphere’. What is a Blagosphere? Well, as anybody from Illinois can tell you, it is the name we’ve given to Rod Blagojevich’s hair, which does an odd sort of circle shape around his cranium. What Obama is REALLY concerned about here, is that newspapers, along with everything else, is slowly getting sucked in by the Blagosphere’s gravitational pull, which has been getting bigger and bigger.

So far the Blagosphere has sucked in the Illinois government, our state judicial system, and perhaps most worrisome, all of the women on The View.

Do NOT allow the Blagosphere to suck you in as well!!!!

A different Anonymous Coward says:

@ Anonymous Coward

You sir, are not very bright.

1st, Regarding healthcare, it is the debating of the subject without any actual real information that is the problem. (Not that every administration wouldn’t like to manipulate what the thousands are saying – that’s obvious) But if the bloggosphere has imploded his grand vision for health care (and it hasn’t – at least not yet, amongst people who understand anything about it) it’s because opinion shapers without any obligation to abide by the the truth, reality, the legistlative schedule, social rules of conduct that don’t needlessly rile people up, etc. have equal credibility in the bloggosphere because (as the article points out) the barriers to entry are low enough that there is no investment to protect, and no process that requires a vetting of what is published to protect the investment in the enterprise from lawsuits, or a reduction in the credibility of the news source.

2nd, If the adminstration does embark on this, it’s not partisan – it helps all politicians. The political establishment (and one could make the case that the governing establishment) needs an information outlet of record that is understood by the population to be the official status, position, state of play, the real situation etc. Without that, the political class has no ability to generate buy-in in the constituency.

In other words, if there is no credible place to announce that this (whatever “this” is: “A exhibit 1”) is the compromise reached by your representative and the opposition (the implication being “and so therefore the negotiations are complete and you, good citizen, should go along with what we are announcing”) then the citizenry will continue to advocate for their interests well past the end of negotiations. (I’m sure you can see how this lessens the power of the initial negotiator substantially) What is the point of having a representative if you will never know (officially) what the outcome of the negotiations are from a news source you can trust to be (at least mostly) objective. THAT is why the newspapers might get a bailout. It’s much larger than one issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“But if the bloggosphere has imploded his grand vision for health care … it’s because opinion shapers without any obligation to abide by the the truth, reality, the legistlative schedule, social rules of conduct that don’t needlessly rile people up, etc.”

Oh, so if anyone has imploded a position you disagree with it’s because they aren’t obligated to seek truth and such because you’re somehow the ultimate authority of truth.

“have equal credibility in the bloggosphere because … the barriers to entry are low enough that there is no investment to protect”

Oh, you mean like when you come here and start posting, the barriers to entry are low so you can come here and post lies without being held accountable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“What is the point of having a representative if you will never know (officially) what the outcome of the negotiations are from a news source you can trust to be (at least mostly) objective.”

Also, your post assumes that the people are somehow inferior to those who are given an artificial playing field when it comes to choosing what is fact from fiction and when it comes to choosing who is credible and not credible. You assume that people are somehow unable to find a source that’s objective and does fact checking and trustworthy because we’re all stupid and hence we need superior government and mainstream media, who are given an unlevel p laying field, to dictate to us what is a credible source and what is not. People are unable to create and decipher trustworthy blogs without the help of the superior government giving an unlevel playing field to mainstream media.

CastorTroy-Libertarian (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Holy… good gawd i hope this is fing sarcasm there Comrade…

phases like “so therefore the negotiations are complete and you, good citizen, should go along with what we are announcing” make me want believe its ment as sarcasm… that we the people have to get out “Truth” from the Offical paper and go along with it is absolutely stupid that i am at a loss for words….

though one questions, do you wear your jackboots to bed??

ChronoFish (profile) says:

Even if he's right - he's wrong...

For starters I don’t think his characterization of Blogs is all that wrong. The media in general is much about editorial than it is about *news* – much less “investigative” news. This site – is no different – and personally I think it represents the core of blog content.

Having said that – a bailout for the news-paper industry is not only disturbing from a influence point of view – but the fact is the news-paper industry is self-destructing. It should fail – leaving a vacuum that will be filled with something better (eventually).


John Raven says:

Prop Up Hypnotists...

Many people do not realize that with the proliferation of hypnosis techniques on the internet, there are all sorts of young kids, DJs and other people who are learning hypnosis and then want to go out and charge for putting on comedy hypnosis shows!

The REAL hypnotists who have been certified and who carry insurance and all the expenses, are being undercut by these new entries into the hypnosis market.

This prevents us from charging the same fees we were able to charge just a few years ago and we are now on the brink of a hypnosis industry CRISIS!

It is imperative that the government consider a bailout option for all professional hypnotists. If the professional hypnotists out there are forced out of business, who will you be left with to hypnotize you? Kids and amatuers with no real office training, no insurance, and no certification.

Think of the children!


Hypnotists of the Country

Substitute just about any industry with hypnotists and the bleeding heart story is the same. The fact is, if I can’t compete using the old ways, then I need to either get out or change my ways. Personally, I’m choosing to change my ways and start using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to communicate and get information out. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.

The newspaper industry needs to stop wallowing in the “Good Ole Times” and start realazing we’ve been in the digital age for a while now. Time to move with the times.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Obama is worried he will loose the ability to manipulate us through the papers. The establishment is scared of alternative media because they can’t control it.”

I actually would think the opposite would be true. After all, if all news was online, then I would think it would be a simple matter of either creating a Patriot Act style snoopware program to sniff out “adversive” reporting, or else the could simply switch off the power to bring down the whole national system if they really wanted to Iron Grip news and information.

Alternatively, how does one keep people from WRITING ON PAPER?

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:

In a completely unrealistic way, you could be right. Maybe that could be the plot for “The Postman 2.” In real life, however, those printed papers are controlled by corporations, whose biases are easily swayed with a few (million) dollars. And in reality, the blogs are so widespread and accessible that no government software could “sniff out” all of them. If that was possible, there would be no viruses, either, because we would have “sniffed them all out” already. That’s not to mention that engendering bias within corporations is subtle and legal (though entirely unethical). On the other hand, sniffing out and censoring online blogs would be a blatant violation of free speech and a quick political suicide.

Anonymous Coward says:

“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.”

Hmm, that’s funny, because that sounds like a perfect description of the “official” news media we have in place today. Tons of opinionated (as opposed to factual) commentary, no serious fact-checking (or rather, twisting and mutilating the facts, and conveniently leaving out key facts), and lots and lots of statements taken out of context. Yep, that’s pretty much the liberal news media for you. Look how reluctant they are to cover the ACORN scandal. Obama is just looking for an excuse to further tighten the iron grip the government has on the mainstream news media.

And for the record, that doesn’t mean I just don’t want democrat influence, as opposed to republican influence. I want no government influence whatsoever. The problem is that all the top dogs have been so brainwashed, I doubt anything will change anytime soon. While I don’t think that blogs are always the best source of news, I do think they can be very good, and are necessary in order for people to get good, factual news out to the masses, especially when the government and mainstream media are trying their best to cover up something that the people have a right to know. We complain about the censorship of the Chinese government, but if something doesn’t change here soon, we’ll be just as censored as they are.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

I totally agree…except for your statement about “that’s the liberal media for you.” As a conservative, I will, without hesitation, say that Fox News is the most biased, opinionated, fact-spinning news organization on TV, and they are not above lying through their teeth to deface anyone they dislike. So, “that’s major media for you” might be an appropriate statement, but to blame it solely on liberal media is unreasonable. Both sides are equally to blame, though liberal media bias is often more evident simply because, on TV, there are a lot more liberal than conservative stations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The media is there to get eyes because eyes = advertisers. What gets eyes? Controversy. So, extended coverage of all the “crazy” town hall meetings meant that the fringe (conservative) voice held dominance. Where were the reports about the majority of town hall meetings that were civil and seriously debated the issues? Not broadcast on any channel, “conservative” or “liberal,” because it doesn’t bring eyes.

So, you can say Fox is conservative and MSNBC is liberal, but more than anything, they’re all driven by controversy first, ideology second.

Anonymous Coward says:

Also, if newspapers aren’t going to pay taxes like everyone else they shouldn’t be allowed to subject anyone to intellectual property. No taxes, no copyright on their material. As non – profit organizations their objective should be to serve society not to make a profit (and the purpose of intellectual property is so that people can make a profit).

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Well, well, well...

…what do we have here?

The Democrat Party and the Pin-Head-In-Chief have now taken their massive, silly and fully embraced un-truism “Too Big To Fail” and now lowering the bar quite a bit have recast it as “Too Stupid To Fail”.

And exactly what does he propose to do with slobbering dreck that this knee-pad-eye-view journalism is going to produce?

Give it away for free? Force me to buy it?

I am already SEETHING mad that my Sat TV company won’t let me buy ala-carte by network, so I can do my part to DE-FUND leftist crap holes like CNN, MSNBC and NBC.

The Democrats are blind, tone deaf and are racing toward huge, and virtually permanent defeats in 2010 and 2012.

Amanda says:

More with Less; Journalism Failure

Newspapers need to save themselves, or the journalists need to jump ship and start all over. In Europe, newspapers are subsidized, and they tow the same party line to the point of absurdity. For examples, see Bruce Bawer’s recent works.
Newspapers need to allow their journalists to do their job, not cower before their corporate masters, grow up enough to understand their market, and stop cutting their workforce to nothing, demanding “more with less”.

Spanky says:


I’m not quite sure how anyone misses the fact that bloggers have no serious standards of reporting. Yeah, some adhere to those standards, but not all do, nor do they have to. In fact, newspapers don’t much adhere to these standards anymore, either, but at least they’re supposed to, and in many cases do. I can fully understand Obama’s concern.

And for those of you still whining about bailouts, you seem to forget it was your guys who put us here. So lets just not bail out anything, watch industries collapse like dominos, and all sleep under the trees. I mean, Jesus. Think for a change, OK.

buy-here-pay-here trollbuster (profile) says:


I normally don’t comment to comments but this was so funny… I just had to. It took you over 350 words to imply that bloggers are spilling nothing but lies about Obama’s Health Care plan that miraculously just popped out of a corpogovt toaster overnight like a sparkly magical pop-tart, and that bloggers are just free-spewing disinformation with no accountability while of course the ‘official journalists’ who have all been ?vetted?, are held to a standard, and therefore ?mostly? above reproach (even if their nearly illiterate lap dogs, the New Media Monopoly nepotism trumps all and handles the final word of the God-Kings, eh?). I am not entirely convinced you have objectively read an American newspaper in the last twenty years or even in recent years, but if you have that means you are either: 1. A professional liar trying to paint American journalism with an ethical credibility it simply does not have, which in that case you may not even be within our nation?s borders just collecting on our tax-payer dime like so many other corpogovernment outsourced trolls, or 2. Ingratiating yourself to the insider-referral economic fascist club, or 3. An idiot who will believe anything their told by the establishment as long as it doesn’t shake the box your living in or interrupt your quality entertainment time? because of course if the corpo-government was lying to you about their motives, or endangering you in any way, they would confess all to you in their ?legitimate? incestuous umbrella media? I suppose their collective conscience would make them. Lol. If not… good luck in court. You see, that’s why in politics and business smokescreens are useful… but SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

buy-here-pay-here trollbuster (profile) says:


You may have heard of ‘The Federalist Papers’? But yeah, not all politicians have been bad guys. However American politics has been freakishly incestuous with blue-blooded Royalty, and simple statistics proves it. In a young country who had a MASSIVE influx of non-blue-blooded industrial seeking population a hundred years ago, with a steady mixed influx sense, we have quite a cozy little community of kissing cousins running things in our nation. Every president we’ve had except one can trace his bloodlines back to the throne of England through their mother or father or both… and that includes Obama. I thought it was rather hilarious when Cheney claimed in the media he didn’t know Obama was his cousin’s grandson… he gave Obama’s mom a juicy job out of high school, right about the time she was pregnant. Funny how they suddenly didn’t know each other… I KNEW. Lol. I love the media blowback control trying to brainwash the masses into accepting the ‘political stacking’ that has been steadily outed by bloggers… *gushing* “Guess who is RELATED? ISN’T IT A SMALL WORLD?” Hmmm… In a nation THIS NEW pulling its population from the destitute and desperate of the globe… YES. That would be A SMALL WORLD. LOL.

buy-here-pay-here trollbuster (profile) says:


QUOTE: Both major political parties used the media to build the perception of opposing positions on key issues, while all the while building consensus on issues that were critical to social change. That’s verified in the Congressional Record for 1917, which reported that

“…the J.P. Morgan [banking] interests…. and their subsidiary organizations got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press of the US…. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. …an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information….”

–Congressman Oscar Callaway statements were included in the Congressional Record (vol. 54, February 9, 1917, p. 2947)

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