Gibbs: No Newspaper Bailout from the Government
By Scott Wilson
Newspapers are facing an existential crisis, but a government bailout? Not likely.
Asked today to assess the state of the newspaper industry, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said "there's a certain concern and a certain sadness when you see cities losing their newspapers or regions of the country losing their newspapers."
But, he added, "I don't know what, in all honesty, government can do about it."
Gibbs spoke as the New York Times Co. threatens to close the Boston Globe, a New England institution, unless its unions agree to $20 million in concessions. The company's negotiators have said they might soon file the required federal notice to shutter the newspaper, which the Times Co. bought in 1993 for $1.1 billion.
Obama, Gibbs said, "believes there has to be a strong free press." But he added that government aid "might be a bit of a tricky area to get into, given the differing roles" of the executive branch and a press that's suppose to keep its eye on it.
Despite the "certain sadness" Gibbs said he feels, he couldn't resist a dig at the press corps. Last month, the media portrayed Obama's instruction to Cabinet members to cut $100 million from their budgets as a laughably small sum given the size of the $3.4 trillion budget and the mounting public debt.
"I would note that, looking at some of the balance sheets -- I wondered how you guys didn't think $100 million meant a lot a few weeks ago, but, looking at some of the balance sheets, $100 million seems to mean a lot," Gibbs said.
The question of whether the government should bail out newspapers was asked by CNN's Ed Henry, a television correspondent.
Web Politics Editor
May 4, 2009; 3:17 PM ET
Categories: Media Notes
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