Attorney General Says He'd Adjust Antitrust Policy To Save Newspapers
from the right-answer,-wrong-question dept
Specifically, what Holder seems to be referring to is whether or not newspapers should be able to own other media properties, such as TV or radio stations. The whole media ownership debate is silly. The rules against "media consolidation" were designed for an era when all your media came from a very small number of official sources. These days, thanks to the internet, people have significantly more media choices than they've ever had before, and more new ones seem to be springing up every single day. Worrying about media consolidation such as that is quite silly. So, if Holder is willing to dump those rules as being outdated and useless, that's great.
But that's not what he's actually saying. He's saying that he'd adjust the rules to save newspapers:
"I think it's important for this nation to maintain a healthy newspaper industry. So to the extent that we have to look at our enforcement policies and conform them to the realities that that industry faces, that's something that I'm going to be willing to do.... I think that we need to have a healthy, vibrant newspaper industry, and I don't mean just online."Now that's a problem. He's singling out a specific product -- the newspaper -- rather than the actual benefit -- good journalism. In other words, he's saying that the government should be picking journalism winners (the newspaper over alternatives) rather than letting the market decide. To me, that's troubling. It also suggests that he could conceivably be open to even more ridiculous proposals, such as letting all of the top news properties collude. As AG, Holder shouldn't be looking to prop up specific businesses or products.