Is the government pushing a 'Drudge Tax'?
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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.
| June 7, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
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