It's Everybody for Themselves in the U.S. Newspaper Industry

Save the banks, the bonuses and even the car companies. But as for the newspaper industry in the U.S., it’s everybody for themselves.

A representative from Washington state, where the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has been discontinued (it’s now only available online), hinted at the ramifications. He said that the government is rescuing businesses without “any social value,” like AIG and Goldman Sachs, while letting newspapers go down the drain.

But in immediate terms, unlike so many bankrupt sectors of the economy, the newspaper industry shouldn’t wait for the arrival of an emergency government bailout. Even if they did, it’s already suffocating enough for many newspapers to keep an eye on the government with such scarce resources. Imagine if a newspaper received government funds. How would it impartially judge the economic plans of Obama’s team?

The noble congressmen are not as aware of the crisis of traditional media as they are of other sectors. However, this may rapidly change during such a volatile time for the economy and U.S. psyche. Congress should be more worried about the prospect of an increasing number of metropolitan cities without print newspapers.

Just take a look at Speaker of the House Nanci Pelosi’s district in San Francisco that runs the risk of losing its very last daily paper due to the comatose state of the San Francisco Chronicle.

To my relief, the noble New York Times, suffering blows from both the economic crisis and structural issues of the traditional media, has assumed a critical tone with respect to Obama’s administration. Influential columnists like Paul Krugman are attacking his economic plans and the newspaper hated by conservatives for being a liberal mouthpiece trumpets its independence. Priceless, just like the banking sector’s toxic assets.

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