My former GMU student Alex Nowrasteh has this excellent letter published in today’s edition of the Financial Times:
From Mr Alex Nowrasteh.
Sir, Leonard Downie (“American journalism needs public support”, October 21) interestingly documented the rise of new and the demise of old journalism in a dynamic market, but then contradictorily proposes subsidies to save old journalism because it is “vital”. Traditional journalism is going bankrupt because it is not vital.
Mr Downie proposes taxing a service that Americans want, telecom usage, to subsidise a service they don’t want, traditional media. Fortunately, such weird conservative nostalgia is beyond the realm of most Americans.
Stone tablet carvers probably bemoaned the introduction of news printed on paper, but we’re all better off because our ancestors didn’t listen to them and subsidise stone carvings. Like other professions in the US that have gone by the wayside – subsistence agriculturalist, inner-city manure cleaner, or sail ship architect – we should not mourn the death of traditional journalism. Instead we should look ahead to the fantastic media opportunities awaiting the journalists and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Competitive Enterprise Institute,
Washington, DC, US