Bad bad idea

Dateline: Fri 02 Jan 2009

A worthy reader sent the following story from Reuters, about a Connecticut lawmaker who thinks it is the government's duty to bail out local ailing newspapers.

The Reuters analysis, New York dateline, by Robert MacMillan, says:

"Connecticut lawmaker Frank Nicastro sees saving the local newspaper as his duty. But others think he and his colleagues are setting a worrisome precedent for government involvement in the U.S. press.

"Nicastro represents Connecticut's 79th assembly district, which includes Bristol, a city of about 61,000 people outside Hartford, the state capital. Its paper, The Bristol Press, may fold within days, along with The Herald in nearby New Britain."

Oy vey. Once this train is out of the depot, there will be no stopping it, for every newspaper in the land is in trouble. As my faithful reader says in his email:

"Might as well socialize the newspapers along with everything else. Nothing like having the government tell you what you can write and not write once they control the purse strings. I never thought I'd live to see the day when 'freedom of the press' meant no more than a fart in a whirlwind."

In case any lawmaker in Indiana wants to pull this stunt, he/she can start with the Banner-Graphic of Greencastle, my old stomping grounds out in Putnam County.

The paper, which published six days a week, never on Sunday, has announced just today that it is ceasing Tuesday publication, blaming "the current economic climate" and citing the high cost to "put it (the paper) together, print it and distribute it to the reader."

Sorry, paper fans, but I do not see a line forming in Putnam to save the local rag. Nor will this idea fly in Connecticut. Nor should it.

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