by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 27th 2009 7:48pm
There's been some talk of having the government bail out newspapers or somehow fundamentally support newspapers. Of course, for good reason, that scares a lot of people who believe that news organizations (not just newspapers, mind you) play an important role in acting as a government corruption watchdog. So it's interesting to see a new study that found that the more government support the press gets, the less they covered government scandals. Of course, this is a correlation -- so it's entirely possible that governments that support the press are simply less corrupt and less prone to scandal. However, the study did look at the timing of gov't funding as compared to press coverage which suggests that there might be a causal relationship, as the lower incidence of press coverage for gov't scandals tended to lag funding slightly. There are still some questions, but this certainly suggests that if you believe news organizations are important in holding government accountable, pushing for gov't support may not be a good idea.
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