White House: No Bailout for Newspaper Industry


ny-timesThe White House yesterday expressed “concern” and “sadness” over the state of the ailing US newspaper industry, but made clear that a government bailout was not in the cards. “I don’t know what, in all honesty, government can do about it,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. “That might be a bit of a tricky area to get into given the differing roles.”Gibbs was responding to a reporter who asked what the White House thought about the recent closure of several US newspapers and a threat to shut down the venerable Boston Globe.

“Obviously (President Barack Obama) believes there has to be a strong free press,” the spokesman said. “I think there’s a certain concern and a certain sadness when you see cities losing their newspapers or regions of the country losing their newspapers.”

US newspapers have been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.

A US senator recently introduced legislation aimed at helping US newspapers by giving them tax breaks as non-profit organizations, an arrangement similar to that enjoyed by public broadcasting outlets, which survive on tax-deductible contributions from listeners.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt and contributions to support coverage or operations would be tax deductible.

{AFP/Matzav.com Newscenter-Noam Amdurski}