Will Barack Obama Save America’s Newspapers, With Money?

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

This sure is a swell edition of the NewspaperThe sad saga of America’s important newspapers has taken another downward turn, as it looks like the New York Times Company will maybe, probably, definitely shut down the Boston Globe, which it owns, for not making any money at all. A journalistic reporter at today’s White House press briefing asked Robert Gibbs about the Globe‘s demise, and what it all means, and whether Barack Obama will maybe bailout all of these newspapers? With more unicorn money?? Gibbs had one of those “How should I put this…” reactions.

Your Wonkette does not want major city newspapers to shut down… but the WAY THESE PEOPLE THINK — that the three million possible job losses that could result from the collapse of the American auto industry (after which most of those laid-off will have *nowhere* to go) is situationally similar to a few hundred reporters getting sacked at a few bloated newspapers with no business models — is just diabolical.

Q. A quick question on The Boston Globe today, the news that they may have 30 to 60 days to live. What’s the White House’s thinking on the newspaper industry right now and whether or not it may need a bailout, since there are a lot of jobs at stake just as with the auto industry; a lot of people talking about the impact on communities like Boston, Seattle, and places that are losing newspapers? How do you evaluate all that?

Mr. Gibbs: I have not asked specifically about assistance. I don’t think — I think that might be a bit of a tricky area to get into, given the differing roles. Obviously the president believes there has to be a strong free press. 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. So it’s certainly of concern.

I don’t know what, in all honesty, government can do about it. I would note that, looking at some of the balance sheets, I wondered how you guys didn’t think $100 million meant a lot a few weeks ago, but looking at some of the balance sheets, $100 million seems to me a lot.

In other words, no, we will not give you more money to write terrible nonsense.

The White House on the Boston Globe [NYT]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell


Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • Jim Newell

    Damn comments, turning themselves off.

  • chascates

    And what about radio networks? What will all of the announcers and actors for ‘The Shadow’ and ‘Amos and Andy’ do when their industry collapses?

  • ManchuCandidate

    Two words: Richard Cohen

  • SayItWithWookies

    [re=307893]Jim Newell[/re]: Phew — I was afraid the evil socialist overlords had had enough of free speech. First they oppressed Miss California, and I said nothing because I wasn’t a witless bimbette with no thoughts of my own…etc.

  • Bruno

    Amen. See the fundamental difference between the auto workers (and management) is they are basically useless and untrainable. Therefore, they will forever wander the earth as unemployed zombies with uneducated high-school football playing offspring who knock one another up at the age of 16. The newspaper industry however is full of people who can string a couple sentences together and can use computers and are therefore semi-employable as blog commenters.

    Good call Barry.

  • Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I have been single-handedly keeping buggy-whip makers afloat. Please give me a bailout!

  • Bruno

    [re=307898]chascates[/re]: AM Radio + Bailout = heads exploding.

    Actually probably not, Rush would find some way to justify why this is some core industry which cannot be outsourced to damn mexicans

  • CaliforniaMike

    Wow, teh Globe is one of Amurrika’s best newspapers. I guess they just couldn’t compete with teh Globe at the supermarkets. They needed less Ted Kennedy news, more Octomom fucks Space alien news.

  • Bruno

    I would like to see Denby, Noonan, Cohen, etc try to survive 2 minutes on their own. Damn, I forgot about Politico. OK, well once their startup money has been burnt up.

  • Zadig

    Short Answer: Ummmm… FUCK THAT?

    [re=307907]Bruno[/re]: Except, as Barack Obama keeps proving at his press conferences, apparently Mexicans are already allowed to write newspapers. Who approved that? Next they’ll have their own (GASP) AM RADIO STATIONS!

    No, wait. Don’t tell me…

  • Aurelio

    They should just take the Boston Globe out back and shoot it.

  • joezoo

    [re=307909]CaliforniaMike[/re]: Tell me more about the Octomom’s latest exploits, for money!

  • LittlePig

    [re=307920]Zadig[/re]: It’s true. I heard it on the X.

  • LittlePig

    Had I been Mr. Gibbs, I probably would have gone with

    “Well, we looked into the matter in depth. Turns out that for 1/100th of the investment in newspapers we could buy 100 cotton candy machines and create an identical product”

  • jagorev

    [re=307898]chascates[/re]: Ira Glass is personally going to call Robert Gibbs every day until the Federal Government makes a pledge to public radio.

  • Joshua Norton

    Newspapers death knell’s started tolling under the Sith reign of the BushCheney. WMD’s bitchs! They were selling propaganda like crazy. But discovered too late that no one was buying. Ever again.

  • V572625694

    Barry should just take over the Globe and every other paper that wants a bailout, change the name to the Boston Daily Hope, and every day they could publish favorable statistics, articles about Barry’s latest initiatives and how successful they’re bound to be, how great the war’s going in Afghanistan, etc. Howell Raines could be editor and chief, with a crack “investigative” staff comprised of Judy Miller and Jason Blair.

    Oh, wait, Murdoch already did that, and called it Fox News and the WSJ editorial page.

  • Bearbloke

    How soon ’til teh Google News buys UPI again?

  • chascates

    [re=307933]jagorev[/re]: I heard Ira do that on one of the last pledge drives. That’s pretty low. He should have phoned Mitch McConnell instead of a regular listener.

  • Kev-O-Tron

    The Seattle P-I went to online only recently. I think that’s rather sad because it was a good paper that had been in print since the Civil War. The Seattle Times, on the other hand, is garbage and needs to seriously consider firing it’s entire editorial staff. To hell with that paper. Hell, I say!

    Speaking of bird cage lining – anybody read Krauthammer this weekend. Just when I thought a conservative columnist couldn’t get his proverbial head any further up his ass he gives it a final “heave ho” and his Adam’s apple is right by his balls.

    Off topic but I am now officially re-employed. Come one, come all (21+, single ladies a plus) to Kev-O-Tron’s bar. I will mix you a mean cocktail. I don’t fuck around.

  • nappyduggs

    If you want real news, fashion an antenna out of a wire hanger and stand outside for a couple of hours between 2am and 4am. This is when the ET’s trade gossip on how the human race are a bunch of shit talking pissbags.

  • jagorev

    [re=307953]chascates[/re]: Ira Glass has no compunction. This one time, he shot a man who refused to donate.

  • chascates

    [re=307963]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: What is this new employment of which you speak? Tech related or bar related?

  • Tommmcatt


    You should pitch that as a reality TV Series. Peggy could work as an inner-city schoolmarm, Denby could copy-edit for a tampon marketing firm, etc. Oooh, ooh, Charles Krauthammer writes pegging porn!

    Fox would totally pick that shit right up!

  • Bronkers

    [re=307963]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: Congratulations for becoming a working stiff, in a manner of speaking, once again. For all the grief that work generates, it’s still a good feeling to be getting a paycheck.

    I’ll take a Manhattan, with a small tip of the maraschino cherry juice into the concoction.

  • Kev-O-Tron

    [re=307972]chascates[/re]: bar related. I blogged about it at if you care to read.

  • SayItWithWookies

    [re=307968]jagorev[/re]: And don’t ask him why your NPR tote bag hasn’t arrived yet.

  • chascates

    [re=307963]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: I found the answer here:

  • SayItWithWookies

    [re=307985]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: Better keep that Wonkettini recipe handy. Congrats!

  • Naked Bunny with a Whip

    [re=307985]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: Speaking of which, when will the shortsshortsshorts media empire formally acquire Wonkette’s asses?

  • Naked Bunny with a Whip


  • chascates

    [re=307999]Naked Bunny with a Whip[/re]: It already has the asses of Wonkette. Just read the comments.

  • CaliforniaMike

    [re=307923]joezoo[/re]: This week’s headline: Is Octomom an octoroon?

  • Alldat

    [re=307901]ManchuCandidate[/re]: But… but… Richard Cohen is funny! I know this because he said so himself, in his column!

  • DC Hates Me

    Internet killed the newspaper stars.

  • Mr Blifil

    Gibbs you tart, bitter smack-downing bitch.

  • Mr Blifil

    [re=307963]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: I’m in DC for a temporary stay and something called The Examiner, I think, is touting all over town that they have a Byron York column. Replete with a big picture of his horrendous gob. More proof that Byron York lives in bizarro world, where conservatives are moving from online to print.

  • Custerwolf

    What’s black and white and red all over?

    Hmmm….print media does seem to have its limitations.

  • Custerwolf

    [re=307963]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: YAY!

  • sarcasticusername

    why would they give them money, doesn’t barry already own the press?

  • 19kevin8

    Ya know what makes me really not want to buy the Boston Globe? When the Boston Globe has a front page center headline about the Boston Globe, that’s what…
    Couldn’t they just stick it at the front of the business section? Seriously, if I see a paper with a story about how that paper is about to go under, I’m thinking “this paper must suck balls, i’ll buy the Herald instead, they’ll at least have some juicy gossip, and that howie carr sure is one smug snarky right wing sunnofabitch…”

  • cranky

    [re=307985]Kev-O-Tron[/re]: tell us which bar so that we can go and over-tip, out of pity, of course.

  • TeddyS

    Gibby should have referred the question to the Boston Globe reporter, fourth seat from the left, fourth row in the press room.

  • loquaciousmusic

    Need I remind you that Tina Brown and Co. spent $18 million on The Daily Beast?

    Everyone’s priorities are TOTALLY FUCKED.

  • WadISay

    Fair disclosure, Barry: Is Bo paper trained yet?

  • hobospacejunkie

    I would note that, looking at some of the balance sheets, I wondered how you guys didn’t think $100 million meant a lot a few weeks ago, but looking at some of the balance sheets, $100 million seems to me a lot.

    I’m really the first one to go here?


    You see, a couple weeks ago many journalistic reporters thought Obama asking each department to cut $100 million was kind of a joke, while today $100 million might go a long way toward saving a particular newspaper, which is very important if, say, you are one of the literally dozens of people who work there, who are obviously far more important than, say, the millions of people about to become homeless & hungry.

    So save the newspapers, yeah, whatever. It was a blogger who discovered the number of waterboarding episodes, while the New York Times, owner of the Boston Globe, only credited her in paragraph twelve of their story about it. So yeah, save the newspapers. From themselves.

  • MrsNateSilver

    Well, um, okay. Here’s the thing. If the Globe dies, all we’re left with here is the FUCKING HERALD owned by fucknut trucknutz Rupert Poophead. The Herald can EAT A BAG OF 2ND GRADE READING LEVEL DICKS ALL DAY EVERY DAY. If there’s only the Herald here, the world will LITERALLY end. Literally.

    But also, lots more than just reporters will lose their jobs. The printers, the deliverers, the sales staff, and on and on. That’s why the unions are involved with the showdown – those support staff workers’ unions have to make major concessions for the papEH to stay afloat. There was already buyouts of reporters & editors, followed by a round of lay-offs. Also.

    Me ‘n my friends don’t read the printed paper so much nowadays – mostly just Sunday. But we go to for all our local news: sports, entertainment, politcal, etc. What needs to happen, needed to happen many years ago, is a successful monetization of on-line newspapers. It’s the failure of imagination and lack of foresight from company managers that lead to this crap. I hope they hurry up and fix it. I can’t live with only the Herald. I can’t. I simply can’t.

    My, my. I had no idea I had such impassioned feelings about The Boston Globe. Look at that. Four friggen paragraphs that no one will read but I still felt compelled to write while this neverending Red Sox Yankees game continues…okay. I’m done now.

  • Custerwolf

    Sure, money’s laughing at the newspapers now, but the newspapers can sit back and wait patiently, knowing a day will come when they’ll be worth more than money.

  • jagorev

    [re=307987]SayItWithWookies[/re]: Ira works for PRI, not NPR, and don’t you ever confuse the two again, or he’s going to have to smack a bitch.

  • zhubajie

    “Amen. See the fundamental difference between the auto workers (and management) is they are basically useless and untrainable. Therefore, they will forever wander the earth as unemployed zombies with uneducated high-school football playing offspring who knock one another up at the age of 16.”

    They will form mobs, attack and rob the still well-off. Or join the army. Or both.

    “The newspaper industry however is full of people who can string a couple sentences together and can use computers and are therefore semi-employable as blog commenters.”

    You’re too optimistic. Editors used fix the spelling and grammar. Now spell-check programs do it, badly.

    Big problem: the newspapers have all become TV in print and TV is far lower quality than it used to be. (Hard to believe, but true.)

    Zhu Bajie

  • zhubajie

    Rush has out-sourced his sex life to Dominican Republic, hasn’t he?

    Zhu Bajie

  • 102415

    I’m with Hobo. News papers let us down bad. Fuck them. First of all someone has to want to read their paper.

  • Aurelio

    [re=308160]MrsNateSilver[/re]: What needs to happen, needed to happen many years ago, is a successful monetization of on-line newspapers.

    Is that another way of talking about CHARGING MONEY to their internet readers, like the Walling Street Journal?

    Nope. The infinite perfectability of machinery has outstripped the old forms of production. And this change will condition our consciousness. We will conceive of The News in a new way.

    Historical inevitability.

    Have a nice day. :)

  • MoreZitiPlz

    [re=308189]Aurelio[/re]: Deepish. I’ve been to Boston. Shut the whole thing down, says me.

  • TGY

    Hell, Superman always saves The Daily Planet. Newspapers just have to get crackin’ on the superhero front and all will be well. Spare the kryptonite and spoil the newspaper or something.

  • larry2

    I think Obama has done enough damage. Just let the free market run its course.Too much government interference. He should take some notes from here:

  • LazloHollyfeld

    The Globe must be saved! And by saved, I mean that Barack needs to call Michael Schiavo out of retirement so he can come over and kick the cord out of the wall. The Globe doesn’t make sense, especially since the Herald sewed up the old-men-who-smell-like-onions-and-are-still-mad-about-busing market years ago. Boston has plenty of terrible glossy magazines and alternative weekly rags to pick up the slack, which isn’t much, as Bostonians only care about Tom and Giselle, Whitey Bulger lookalikes, and secret Jews in Wellesley. The Metro will be missed, however, if only because it provided a delightful shield between the seat and the bum piss on the T.

  • MrsNateSilver

    [re=308189]Aurelio[/re]: No, I did not mean charging money to view articles. That’s why i said a “successful monetization”, as opposed to the unsuccessful attempts, like charging to view.

    A reporter for a paper out West talked about this on the Tavis Smiley show last Feb or Marhc, but TSS archives are kinda poopy and I can’t find it. Anyway, her point was that we still need news — even if we have fantastic sites like Wonkette — because news’papers’/ news magazines/ news sources are the primary source of information, most often.

    And it was a failure in vision and understanding of new technology and how that new techonology reached people that lead to the demise of the newspapers. My point is that I’m still reading the Globe, just not in paper form. So, *they* should have figured out a way to make money off the way I’m reading the Globe now-a-days.

  • Aurelio

    [re=309147]MrsNateSilver[/re]: You’re right. Charging viewers isn’t gonna work. But internet ads can’t “monetize” a big news organization, either. Internet ads bring in about 10% of the revenue of print ads. So smaller will become the norm. More specialization, perhaps. Much more choice for readers/viewers. A whole new system of what we call “news” and “opinion.” I welcome it.