That’s another item buried in President Joe Biden’s (D) and his Progressive-Democratic Party syndicate’s reconciliation bill.
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA), first introduced in July, would provide a local media advertising credit of up to $5,000 in the first year and up to $2,500 in the next four years, covering 80% of advertising costs in the first year and 50% in the following four years.
Other elements of the bill would provide a federal tax credit to local media outlets that hire local news reporters, covering half of compensation up to $50,000 in the first year, and 30% of compensation up to $50,000 in the following four years. To be eligible, reporters would need to meet a minimum of 100 hours of work per quarter.
Those 100 hours required to get a “reporter” subsidy (here in the form of tax credits) aren’t even for half-time work: they’re less than 20% of full time. Get a Government subsidy for “hiring” a dilettante or a hobbyist. Nice gig for the dilettante or hobbyist.
And what’s with the advertising subsidy (tax credit)? Advertisers pay the outlet for advertising time and space; outlets don’t pay the advertisers for gracing their pages.
Senator Maria Cantwell (D, WA), the item’s sponsor:
The tax incentives in this bill will help local newspapers and digital-only news journalists and broadcast newsrooms remain financially viable to retain and hire local base journalists to cover local news stories.
Naturally, the news outlets and associated unions, including National Public Radio, the AFL-CIO, NewsGuild-CWA, and the Writers Guild of America, East are enthusiastic about the free—an unearned—money.
It’s nonsense. If the local outlets are providing a product that’s useful to the local citizens, their readers, then the local market, those local citizens, will freely support that product with their time, eyeballs, and subscription/purchase money.
Government largesse is entirely unneeded, except as a tool for Government to use to…influence…what gets published, and just as importantly, what does not get published.
The subsidies, and their proclaimed need, are nonsense. But they’re part of what the Progressive-Democrats wish to use in their drive to expand government and government intrusiveness.