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Rosa Brooks – New Mouthpiece For Pentagon

Flack representer

Flack representer

Rosa Brooks, Los Angeles columnist is to advise Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Fluornoy. She is currently in a position where she has considerable access to Armed services and Defense policies and lightheartedly refers the shift from journalism to politics as her “personal government bailout”.

She used to advise Harold Koh at the State Department during Clinton administration, when Koh was assistant secretary for human rights.

A former law school professor, in her last column for the Los Angeles Times on April 9 wrote that it is time for a state owned press, as our society depends on that profession for its survival. Apart from that she calls for an industry wide financial bailout for her ex-colleagues. She expressed, “A decimated, demoralized and under-resourced press corps hardly questioned the Bush administration’s flimsy case for war in Iraq – and the price for that failure will be paid for generations. It’s time for a government bailout of journalism.” In short, she wants the government to subsidize the ailing journalism.

The lack of revenue is what is killing newspapers. She added, “They continue their death spiral, with dwindling circulations and thousands of layoffs. I’ve only lasted this long because as a freelancer – with no benefits and minimal pay – I’m just too cheap to be worth firing.” She points out that other democratic governments patronize media better than U.S. Canada spends 16 times as much per capita and Britain spends 60 times as much.

She suggests that tax dollars can be fully utilized and licenses can be granted in ways to promote independent and robust reporting and commentary.

In an article in April 6 Nation, John Nichols and Robert McChesney offer some ideas on how to bail out the news industry. They suggest, for instance, eliminating postal rates for periodicals that get less than 20% of their revenues from advertising, a tax credit for the first $200 taxpayers spend on newspaper subscriptions and a significant expansion of funding for public broadcasting.

Subsidies in France have forced the newspapers to succumb to political pressures, that is why, readers don’t trust their writing. To add insult to injury, investigative reporters are forced to quit their jobs first before they can publish their work, as books.

It must also be kept in mind that when government holds the strings, government will dictate the actions and the product. In fact, that’s why most of us value an independent media over a Ministry of Information.


April 15, 2009 - Posted by | Global Politics | , , ,

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