The last thing we need is a bunch of politicians deciding which newspapers to save.
In the wake of the Postmedia-Torstar deal which closed a bunch of newspapers, there are growing calls – especially on the far left – for a newspaper bailout of some kind.
The argument is that the government should step in and spend taxpayer money to keep more newspapers alive.
It’s a terrible idea.
First of all, the best solution is to stand up for freedom of speech, and let people keep more of their own hard-earned money. Then, people will freely pick the news outlets they want to support, and ignore the ones they don’t.
However, if the government starts giving taxpayer-funded bailouts to newspapers, they would be picking which newspapers live, and which ones collapse.
That would certainly skew the coverage towards a pro-big government stance, and would give politicians unacceptable leverage over the newspapers receiving taxpayer money.
It would also be forcing people to support publications they don’t agree with, all without giving people a choice or a vote.
While those lamenting the closure of newspapers after the Postmedia-Torstar deal say they are worried about democracy, the truth is that much of citizen democracy and debate has shifted to social media.
Rather than fighting it out in the editorial pages of select papers, Canadians can now publish their own thoughts and ideas and get them out directly to the people – all without the filter of government or the press.
This is a positive development, as it gives more power to citizens.
Of course, because governments are so afraid of empowered citizens, many far-leftist politicians are tempted to bailout the newspaper industry to build a more compliant network of “media” to push their agenda.
That’s the last thing Canada needs, considering how limited and constrained debate already is in the establishment press.
And topping it all off, the media companies shutting down these newspapers are owned by billionaires in many cases, so why should even a cent of taxpayer money go towards bailing out those same elites?
For all those reasons and more, a newspaper bailout would be a terrible idea.