Paul Godfrey goes begging for tax dollars:
Media supremo Paul Godfrey wants the federal government to subsidize the flagging newspaper industry. It’s not a new idea. Ottawa has been in the business of quietly helping Canadian publications for more than a century.
But it raises two questions. First, is it a good idea for the press to go hat in hand to Ottawa? Second, would the proposed new subsidies work?
Godfrey heads Postmedia, the biggest newspaper chain in the country. It’s a chain that’s unapologetically conservative in its politics.
I'm afraid Thomas Walkom - the author of the above piece - has a poor grasp of what conservative actually means. That's not very surprising coming from a Toronto Star columnist. That Paul Godfrey has no idea what the word means is sadly not surprising at all. Establishment Canadian Conservatives make American RINO squishes look like Ayn Rand heroes.
As Walkom explains at length in his piece the Canadian media has been whoring itself out to the government since John A was in knee pants. That's not a joke. Pre-Confederation governments were notorious for providing indirect subsidies to friendly newspapers through government advertising contracts. For decades Ottawa has subsidized the mail delivery of subscription magazines. During the First World War even the British government was partially subsidizing the newswire service Canadian Press.
As Brian Mulroney was fond of observing: There's no whore like an old whore. Canadian newspaper journalists are very, very old whores.
The long and the short of it is that no one wants what the newsmen and newswomen of Canada are selling. People don't want journalism they want celebrity news, sports, lifestyle blather and the weather report. The average reader doesn't give a damn about the comings and goings on Parliament Hill or any of the ten provincial legislatures. They will not pay money for journalism good, bad or indifferent. This has probably been the case for decades, a dark reality masked because for a very long time newspapers were a comparatively efficient way for private individuals (the classifieds) and large business (full page ads) to reach consumers. The internet has blown that all to hell. What's left is kitty litter lining.
Whatever the intrinsic merits of newspapering and other forms of reasonably hard journalism, the people of Canada have spoken: They don't care. Paul Godfrey is handing out buggy whips in the middle of a superhighway and expecting the taxpayers to reward his futile efforts. However sad, tragic or unjust it's a simple commercial reality. It is not the business of government to bail out journalists from their obsolescence or readers from their militant ignorance.