Perhaps it had to happen, but it's dispiriting nevertheless. It turns out that the Philadelphia Inquirer, which is facing pretty much the same economic troubles as the rest of the newspaper industry, has talked with PA Gov. Ed Rendell about a possible $10 million bailout. It doesn't seem to have gotten beyond preliminary discussion stage and now that iot's been made public it probably won't happen. It's troubling nonetheless. As this Register editorial tries to remind us, the founders put the First Amendment in the constitution -- it was downright revolutionary at the time and to some extent still is; the British still have official press censorship -- in part to have a free and independent press to serve as a watchdog on government. How much of a watchdog are you going to be if government is paying your bills?
I realize that the BBC and NPR both are capable of good journalism, but there are places they don't go, and NPR in particular is almost always a reliable apostle for bigger government -- not that it takes government funding for journalists to promote such positions.