A new report reveals there's an unusual item in the Democrats' huge $3.5 trillion social spending spree that most Americans haven't heard about. It contains funding for a bailout of the American news media.
As the mainstream media has reported, the Democrats' massive proposal includes expanding Medicare, childcare, college tuition assistance, and major investments in programs to fight climate change over the next 10 years.
But one portion of President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda that the news media has remained silent on is their own so-called "tax credit."
In a commentary published Wednesday in The Daily Signal, Adam Guillette, president of Accuracy in Media, points to a special journalism "tax credit" equal to 50% of the salary of each journalist—up to $50,000 per journalist annually.
So, Americans' tax dollars could end up paying half of the salary of many journalists in the country whether they like their reporting or not.
"Think of it as a way to turn every news outlet in America into a version of NPR," Guillette wrote. "Let's be clear: 'Saving' the media would destroy the media. How could we ever trust journalists to accurately cover the elected officials who voted against their funding? How can you 'speak truth to power' when you're also pleading with that power for cash? Which news outlets would get the funding, and which would be snubbed?"
He noted there would be no semblance of objectivity if all media outlets get on the federal payroll.
"The idea that Americans should be forced to financially support news outlets they don't like is immoral, obnoxious, and a threat to both free markets and free speech. It's also outrageous when one considers the proliferation of new media outlets that have already replaced these dinosaurs," Guillette said.
This isn't the first time the establishment news media has tried for a government handout. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, news outlets actually lobbied Congress for funding. And some of them, even took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, raking in millions of dollars at outlets like The Seattle Times ($9.9 million) and The Tampa Bay Times ($8.5 million). Other news outlets also received funding, according to The Daily Signal.
In an op-ed published by The Hill in May of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeffrey McCall, a media critic, and professor of communication at DePauw University, argued the news industry shouldn't accept government funding even during a time of national crisis.
"That's because news outlets are different from widget manufacturers or local restaurateurs," he wrote. "The journalism industry produces news, and that product just shouldn't be tarnished or compromised by taking financial handouts from the very government the press is designed to monitor on the citizens' behalf."
"An independent press is a hallmark of American democracy," McCall continued. "A free press was allowed to blossom in the nation from the time the First Amendment was ratified, a controversial notion then and now. The free press has often been referred to as the Fourth Estate, serving an unofficial but essential role in watch-dogging the government."
It's true that most Americans distrust the media. This observation has been confirmed by independent polling over the last several years, including a recent Gallup poll taken in July. Fox News reported more than three-quarters of the public said they did not have much confidence in newspapers or television news.
A Reuters survey in June even found the United States ranks last among 46 countries when it comes to public trust in the media.
In his op-ed, McCall also said to keep the public trust, the news media must keep the government out of their decision-making.
"The American press has always boasted about its independence and fought the good fight for over two centuries to keep it that way. Now is not the time to compromise that spirit. Maintaining the public trust means making sure there is no appearance of government influence in the news product," McCall noted.
The days when newspapers and television networks led the charge for "fair and balanced" reporting -- telling both sides of the story and then let their users form their own opinion -- are gone. One recent example is when several news outlets ignored the Hunter Biden scandals in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election.
Guillette contends, "But now it looks like their allies in Washington, D.C., are going to reward them for their loyalty. It will be a dark day in our nation when 'journalists' become beneficiaries from the federal spoils system."