Ross Douthat asks the question somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but can anyone say that well-financed, thorough and wide-reaching journalism is less essential to the functioning of this nation than is the continuation of American automobile manufacturing?
Doesn’t America need the New York Times as much at it needs the Chevy Cobalt? Isn’t the Star-Ledger as important as the GMC Savana? Sure, GM employs roughly five times as many people as all all of America’s newsrooms combined – but that just means that we’d be much, much cheaper to bail out! GM needs $25 billion, but we’d settle for, I dunno, five billion? Pocket change, in other words!
Kidding aside, journalists directly or indirectly supply all of us with the information upon which we base our decisions about how our world works and how it ought to work. Sure, lots of people get their information from blogs, but the blogs almost all are commenting on the work done by journalists.
So — where do we apply? Paulson? Bernanke? Anyone?