The Federal Trade Commission’s plan to hold a two-day series of workshops in December regarding the impact of the Internet on the news industry has drawn howls of protest from bloggers and other new-media merchants who resent the obvious significance of this event. That is, that the events of Dec. 1 and 2 will begin the heavy-handed incursion of government into journalism, where taxpayer dollars will flood in to prop up avaricious legacy institutions, free-wheeling bloggers will be regulated to the fringes as media and government become one, and our country will continue its inexorable march toward socialism.
What is to be done?
As it happens, the workshop has been on the FTC’s public agenda since August. But the notice only recently appeared in the Federal Register, which, coupled with last week’s alarming vote to approve rules that will require bloggers to make more meaningful disclosures about the payola they receive from the companies they write about, makes these early days in October as good a time as any to revisit the weary discussion of where the media is headed, and what policy prescriptions, if any, should be taken to steer its course.
Glenn Beck doesn’t like it. Neither does Valleywag. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that Glenn Beck is a barking loon, and that Valleywag has a consistent track record of taking a wrecking ball to any proposal to prop up legacy media, their fears are shared by many.