The Washington Post is one of many newspapers suffering both a recession and a broader economic shift in how information is delivered and read.
Mr. President, how could you! After all that the media has done for him, how could he now turn on us, uh, THEM -- in a moment of dire need? The Obama administration declared Monday that bailouts for newspapers in trouble like the Boston Globe wouldn't be in the offing anytime soon:
"I don't know what, in all honesty, government can do about it," Gibbs told reporters. Gibbs signaled one difference from bailouts for the auto industry and financial firms is that it's a "bit of a tricky area" for the White House to be helping media companies that cover the President, given the potential for conflicts of interest.
Oh, now you're worried about possible conflicts-of-interest? The fact that banks got multiple bailouts and X-number of Obama and Bush administration individuals had connections to Citibank and Goldman Sachs -- which got money from AIG -- was never seen as a conflict?
Newspapers are in dire straights: Both the Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer -- with about 240 combined reporting years between them -- have gone belly-up in the last few months. The Washington Post announced a first-quarter loss of $19.2 million. The New York Times Co. is battling the Boston Globe's biggest union, with a shutdown threat hanging over the negotiations. (An ironic stand-off in and of itself: How would The New York Times cover a big company bullying a union -- the way the NYT Co. is bullying the Globe workers?). For that matter, the Times itself is raising its newsstand price again -- to $2.00 this time -- even as it eliminated its weekend "Escapes" section.
And the body count continues.
With all of this chaos swirling around the newspaper industry, Mr. President, how can you not step in?
Haven't we in the media done our part? Haven't we managed to throw softball questions in the big national press conferences? Like that "enchanted" one last week!?!? We stand when you enter the room. And don't forget the fawning storyline and pictures of the dog? Look how we showed you holding hands with the "Mrs." on your date night?
Oh, is that it? Maybe we've been invading your space a little bit too much? OK, we'll back off.
Whatever you want. Just give us a little bit of "love" -- like you did for the auto industry, banks, insurance companies. Heck, media would be just the ideal bit of seasoning to your expanding diversified portfolio.
Otherwise, we might think you didn't like us any more. And we'd get upset. And angry. And you wouldn't like us if we didn't like you. Just ask President Clinton (who we sort-of liked at the beginning). Or President Bush. That's not like, you know, a threat or anything. It's just a reminder that we're just one more proud institution -- collectively -- that should be considered "too big to fail"!
So, you got our backs, right, Mr. Prez?