A conservative explains why conservatives must help newspapers find a free market answer


When I get one of those e-mails from some snide person gloating over the fiscal woes of the newspaper industry and saying, “I get my news from the Internet anyway,” I am tempted to print it out so I can wad it into a ball and fling it across the room.

When I hear one of those conservative talk show radio hosts engaging in a bit of schadenfreude over the pains of the “liberal” media, I want to curse at the radio and call in to ask just where he thinks he gets all the news on which he is commenting.

But now an alert reader has sent me a photocopy of an article containing the most concise and most illustrative explanation I’ve yet seen. It is in a article in National Review by James V. DeLong under the headline “Black and White and Dead All Over.”

In it DeLong, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, explains why conservatives should be leery of many of the ideas being floated for rescuing the newspaper business.

“To say that you don’t need newspapers because you get your news from the Internet,” DeLong writes, “is like saying that you don’t need to burn coal because you rely on electricity.”

He suggests conservatives would be wise to help newspapers find a free market answer to their profitability problems lest they become dependent on foundations and government subsidies — which have brought us the monolithic ideology and political correctness we find on university campuses.