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Late Night: On Bailouts, Bogeymen and False Equivalencies

During a sit-down with two newspapers last Friday, President Obama embraced an idea that would be farcical if he weren’t serious about it.

The president said he is "happy to look at" bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.

"I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them."

Sure, why not? Yet another monopolistic industry that drove itself into the ground by worshipping at the altar of the Almighty Profit Margin and pocketing the donation plate proceeds gets a possible economic boost/tax break from the White House. It seems that this administration will never grow weary of throwing money at craven, incompetent, self-entitled management types:

So far this year, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and CEO Janet Robinson have each been granted half a million stock options, and Robinson got 650,000 options last year. And for the past 19 months, they’ve been paid under a plan that allows for up to $3.5 million in annual bonuses.

Trouble is, in 1991, the Times adopted rules barring its executives from getting more than 400,000 stock options and $3 million in bonuses in any given year. On Friday, the company disclosed the errors in an SEC filing and restructured Sulzberger and Robinson’s packages so as to bring them in compliance with the Times‘ own rules. 

Inept, grabby executives? I’m SHOCKED! Pinch Sulzberger, may I introduce you to John Thain?

Unlike the banking industry’s precipitous tumble last year, the newspaper business has been on a slow march into the La Brea tar pits, thanks in no small part to its stubborn refusal to join the 21st century. However, like the banksters, it, too, wants its greed and ineptitude rewarded, and this administration seems eager to help.

But wait, there’s more! Let’s not overlook the President’s continued contempt for online journalism. The money quote:

"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context," he said, "that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding." 

O RLY? No fact-checking or putting stories in context? Two words, Mr. President: Marcy Wheeler.

Look, there is no equating the two sides. Yes, the left has its fair share of crazies, but, unlike the right, our crazies call for parity, not armed insurrection, and they don’t have corporate sponsorship. (Honestly, how does one come to a "mutual understanding" with Foxheads who, even when presented with concrete physical evidence of your citizenship, still insist you weren’t born in this country?)  

Like junkies with the DTs screaming "GET THESE BUGS OFF ME!", the national media have wasted more time and energy trying to shake off the "liberal" label the Republicans tattooed on their asses than by engaging in real reportage. Frankly, there hasn’t be "civil discourse" since Clinton "trashed the place." The media have spent the last two administrations either condemning Clinton for failing to keep it in his pants or fellating Bush, who should have whipped it out more often so we wouldn’t be mired in a never-ending land war in Asia, a war that, despite the shrill DFH protests, none of the cheerleaders in the White House press pool bothered to question. Most of the old national media types have proven themselves to be no more than stenographers for the well-oiled, well-funded conservative movement, even if you insist upon the existence of some mythical "balanced" media. 

I recommend you re-read the comments about a "robust and open" Internet made earlier today by your FCC Chairman, sir. Because like it or not, the Internet — and blogging/online journalism — is not going away. You’re going to need the left’s help in 2012, Mr. President, so you might want to ease up on the false equivalencies. 

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NYC-based aquatic feline that likes long walks on the beach, illuminating the hypocrisies of "family values" Republicans, and engaging in snarling snarkitude.