More bad news for newspapers: White House says no bailout

May 5th, 2009 - 11:52 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 5 (IANS) With the Boston Globe, another major American newspaper on the edge of shutdown, President Barack Obama’s administration has signalled that the newspaper industry will not be getting a government bailout.

“I don’t know what, in all honesty, government can do about it,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters when asked whether the federal government will consider stepping in to help save newspapers, as it has with so many other industries.

Gibbs signalled one difference from bailouts for the auto industry and financial firms is that it’s a “bit of a tricky area” for the White House to be helping media companies that cover the President, given the potential for conflicts of interest.

It’s not like the President, who is routinely spotted with a newspaper tucked under his arm when he’s getting into a motorcade, is completely unsympathetic to the industry.

Gibbs said Obama feels “concern and sadness” over the plight of the print media, though the spokesman couldn’t resist a poke at some of the reporters in the briefing room who had recently posed sceptical questions about the President’s push to trim a small amount of federal spending.

“You guys didn’t think $100 million meant a lot a few weeks ago,” Gibbs said. “But looking at some of the balance sheets, $100 million seems to mean a lot.”

The White House comments came amid reports that the New York Times Co, owners of Boston Globe, were planning to close the newspaper unless the unions agreed to $20 million in cuts.

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