If this goes through, everything will be subsidized: print, broadcast, the works — a whole industry of CBCs. You couldn’t do a better job killing the news business

If you weren’t careful, you might have missed it: a brief 160-word item, tucked deep inside the budget, labelled Supporting Canadian Journalism.

Mostly it was a rehash of the measures already announced in November’s Fall Economic Statement: a labour cost subsidy (in the form of a tax credit — presumably this sounds more palatable) for journalism organizations, a tax credit/subsidy for digital news subscribers, and charitable tax status for news organizations that register as non-profits. Only if you turned back further still, to an annex marked Tax Measures: Supplementary Information, would you find the details.

What you would discover, if you did, was how a bad idea in principle was likely to be infinitely worse in practice.

There are any number of objections to the government getting into the game of propping up failing news organizations: that taking money from the people we cover will place us in a permanent and inescapable conflict of interest; that it will produce newspapers concerned less with appealing to readers than to grantsmen; that it will not only leave us dependent on government, but without standing to oppose such dependence in others; that it will solve none of our problems, but only encourage us to put off dealing with them; that it is all so bloody unnecessary.

Read full article here.

Andrew Coyne – National Post – March 20, 2019.

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