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BBB’s federal handouts for ‘local journalism’ a first step toward neutering free press

It’s a tiny a part of the Build Back Better invoice, however a telling one: federal assist for the press within the type of a $1.7 billion subsidy for “local journalism.”

It’s a payroll tax credit score of $25,000 per worker the first yr after which $15,000 for the 4 following years for any “local newspaper publisher” that serves “the needs of a regional or local community” and has “no more than 750 employees.” The journalists in query must live inside 50 miles of their news outlet and work greater than 30 hours a week.

The declare is that that is simply assist to ravenous native shops hit laborious by the pandemic. But Republicans will name it, not with out trigger, a bribe for favorable protection.

Yes, occasions are tough as heck for print journalism, and stable native protection like The Post offers usually doesn’t convey within the nationwide on-line viewers that may assist pay the payments.

But these are points the business must work out for itself. Government strings inevitably observe authorities handouts, and the Fourth Estate should stay unbiased to do our job.

This concept isn’t any method to “build journalism back better,” it’s a first step toward neutering the free press.

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