Gibbs: No Bailout For Newspaper Industry

Monday, 04 May 2009 08:33 PM

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The White House on Monday expressed "concern" and "sadness" over the state of the ailing US newspaper industry, but made clear that a government bailout was not in the cards.

"I don't know what, in all honesty, government can do about it," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. "That might be a bit of a tricky area to get into given the differing roles."

Gibbs was responding to a reporter who asked what the White House thought about the recent closure of several US newspapers and a threat to shut down the venerable Boston Globe.

"Obviously (President Barack Obama) believes there has to be a strong free press," the spokesman said. "I think there's a certain concern and a certain sadness when you see cities losing their newspapers or regions of the country losing their newspapers."

US newspapers have been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.

A US senator recently introduced legislation aimed at helping US newspapers by giving them tax breaks as non-profit organizations, an arrangement similar to that enjoyed by public broadcasting outlets, which survive on tax-deductible contributions from listeners.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt and contributions to support coverage or operations would be tax deductible.

Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium

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