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Is the government pushing a 'Drudge Tax'?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Contrary to recent suggestions, the Federal Trade Commission is not pushing for a new tax on online news stars like Matt Drudge and Arianna Huffington... at least not yet.

A Washington Times editorial published late last week stated that the agency was supportive of news organizations imposing fees on news aggregators and similar Web sites that repost or recast original news content published and produced on other sites. The Times editorial board argued that such a policy would essentially result in a tax on Web sites like DrudgeReport.com, HuffingtonPost.com or The Daily Beast.

"When it comes to the media, consumers lose most when government suppresses innovation in the name of 'saving' old business models," The Times wrote. (Author and journalist Jeff Jarvis also poo-pooed the FTC's efforts last week.)

But the FTC said Friday that it's not pushing for a new tax or any other news-related policy change. It's merely trying to decide if -- not when or how -- it should ever take regulatory action as part of its mission to protect consumers and competition. In that vein, the agency has hosted meetings with media veterans, business experts and editors of new and older news outlets and compiled their ideas in a "discussion draft."

The FTC "has not endorsed the idea of making any policy recommendation or recommended any of the proposals in the discussion draft," according to a statement.

The agency will host another workshop, entitled "How Will Journalism Survive in the Internet Age?" next Tuesday at the National Press Club. Concerned citizens can learn more about the workshops and submit their own ideas on the future of the news business here. Of course, you should also leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Feds Feed Families: The second annual government-wide food drive begins today with a kick off at the Capital Area Food Bank. The Office of Personnel Management will partner with the departments of Agriculture and Energy, among others. Learn more at FedsFeedFamilies.gov.

Cabinet and Staff News: Joe Biden's excellent weekend. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says oil spill cleanup will go on "into the fall." Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is planning two wedding parties and was left red faced after mistakenly sending a birthday message to Queen Elizabeth a week early. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visits Azerbaijan. James R. Clapper Jr. nominated to serve as national intelligence chief, but counterterrorism adviser John Brennan emerges as a forceful member of Obama's national security tea.m Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki visits Cleveland and Buffalo area. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on last week's national summit on rural America. A conversation with USAID Chief Rajiv Shah.

CENSUS BUREAU:
Police: RI break-in suspect falls asleep in hall: Police said the 29-year-old was found sleeping in basement of the two-family home and arrested Friday morning. He identified himself as a U.S. Census worker.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
At least $500 million has been spent since 9/11 on renovating Guantanamo Bay: The spending has transformed what was once a sun-beaten and forgotten Caribbean base into one of the most secure military and prison installations in the world.

Pentagon maps out $100 billion cost savings plan: Top officials are ordering a five-year effort to find more than $100 billion in cost savings in the Pentagon's budget and redirect that money to pay for military weapons systems and force structure.

Navy declares war on sexual harassment and assault: The Navy's Personal Readiness and Community Support Branch says it's a matter of the highest priority.

End zone to war zone: Pentagon wants NFL tech for battlefield replays: Harris Corporation, the company behind instant replay for professional football and baseball games, has teamed up with the military on an analysis system that’s already been deployed to several bases.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS PROGRAM:
For-profit colleges reap big benefit from stimulus: Massage and beauty schools, online universities and other for-profit colleges in Georgia and across the nation are cashing in on federal stimulus spending.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE:
Gay couples get equal tax treatment: Advocates for the change say it is the first time the agency has acknowledged gay couples as a unit for tax purposes.

IRS nears action on church pensions: The agency is drafting guidance that could require employers with religious affiliations to warn workers when their pensions have lost their federal safety net.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Former U.S. attorneys argue the GOP case in House races: From Little Rock to Scranton, Republicans are fielding congressional candidates -- particularly a trio of former U.S. attorneys -- whose most prominent credential is prosecuting criminals.

NASA:
As the Sun awakens, NASA keeps wary eye on Space weather: Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
State Dept. loses round in CIA cover case: A federal judge lent a hand Friday to a former CIA operative who is trying to force the State Department to defend her against an Italian conviction for kidnapping.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | June 7, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

It's not hard to fathom that the FTC is as ignorant of the Internet as is Rupert Murdoch. Having Google, Huffington Post, or Drudge reference your content is GOLD! It gets people to your site who otherwise may never have bothered. It gives your display ads a lot more impressions, faster.

Posted by: kemp13 | June 7, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

You missed the first folks who are to switch from NSPS to the old system had the switch back to GS delayed by 30 days from May 23 to June 20. Things are not going well for DOD in this conversion. Duh!

Posted by: sheepherder | June 7, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

If you truly want to know what is going on; Then you will have to accept these things as the TRUTH. Once you understand the following things; All things will be understood. So I tell you Obama is the Anti-Christ, Satan on Earth, Lawless One, or what ever else you want to call this Demonic Figure. His words describe him, He is a False Hope, If you listen to him you will love him. He carries a Bow without an Arrow. He will conquer all through his speech, his false hoods will capture all who sit and listen to him.

Posted by: makom | June 7, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

If you truly want to know what is going on; Then you will have to accept these things as the TRUTH. Once you understand the following things; All things will be understood. So I tell you Obama is the Anti-Christ, Satan on Earth, Lawless One, or what ever else you want to call this Demonic Figure. His words describe him, He is a False Hope, If you listen to him you will love him. He carries a Bow without an Arrow. He will conquer all through his speech, his false hoods will capture all who sit and listen to him.

Posted by: makom | June 7, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

We have not done nearly enough to protect our vital systems from solar EMP damage nor cyber-attacks. Having sensitive sites get comm access by hackers is ignorant. A simple solution is approved cleared offsite users get encrypted passwords put on their systems, log in to sensitive sites, disconnect and re-establish the link back to aprroved users with encrypted password handshake. You can break in but never be connected.

Posted by: jameschirico | June 7, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The FTC needs to stay out of this. Why punish sites that are successful and effective in order to prop up media that is failing? I agree with kemp13 that the aggregators are actually doing other sites a favor by directing people to them who otherwise wouldn't have given them a look. Another case of government overreach.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | June 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Once again, Republicans fire up the base over a nonsense strawman!
And Righties obey.


Posted by: angie12106 | June 7, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Whether they are or are not is irrelevant....Drudge will push it like they are 100% doing it to scare people

Posted by: Bious | June 8, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

It's disgusting. Just disgusting.

We need to quit playing games with our freedom of speech. If you don't like something someone says, then DON'T TRY TO MUZZLE THEM WITH THE LAW! Rather, use your OWN words and OWN speech to counter the speech you don't like.

Freedom of Speech is our most basic freedom and the fount of ALL our other freedoms. "Equal rights", for example, means NOTHING if one can't complain about discrimination! This is NOT a partisan issue. Free speech is under constant attack from the left AND the right and unless we ALL start standing up for each other, even those with whom we disagree, we're all going to lose in the end.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | June 10, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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