Op-Ed: Dems Miss Big Picture With Tax Break for Certain Media
Tuesday, several Democratic legislators, and WA State AG Bob Ferguson (who supports the bills) said they want to pass legislation waiving the Business and Occupation Taxes for newspapers, and other "qualified" media.
This legislation shows how far in the dark they are
Senate Bill 5199 and House Bill 1206 would basically end the B & O tax for newspapers and other "qualified" digital media. The Democratic legislators and AG Bob Ferguson laid out their reasons for pushing this bill. You can read their rationale by clicking here.
However, the slow steady 'death' of newspapers across America began a long time ago. Yes, digital technology has deeply cut into the traditional printed page, but it's affecting all printed media--books, magazines, and other publications.
And, newspapers were often among the last to jump into the digital river and build strong online platforms.
Digital has also affected how we watch TV. Many more people choose appointment viewing, using a wide variety of streaming or specialty platforms to choose only the shows they want--as opposed to scrolling through hundreds of channels on cable or satellite. Radio has learned to stream its content through Mobile Apps, and podcasting has also grabbed millions of listeners. Radio pushes its websites, apps, and digital platforms as hard as its on-air content.
But it's not just tech
Starting with the largest papers, namely New York Times, and Washington Post, the public has increasingly turned away from steadily left-leaning coverage and opinion-tinged news. The public has also found alternative digital outlets that dig deeper, find more facts, and don't ignore certain large stories.
This reporting pattern has filtered down to many papers when it comes to covering, especially, state and political news.
The traditional newspaper has been overtaken by online sources whose coverage often outstrips what traditional media offer.
We have seen in WA state a pattern for years, for example, of kid-glove treatment of Governor Inslee's controversial actions- especially concerning COVID policies. The Seattle Times, Everett Herald, Tacoma News Tribune, and even our local Tri-City Herald have not done their job in questioning and challenging policies that stir up or negatively affect the public, but get ignored by print media.
All you have to do is look back, for example, over the coverage of CHOP in Seattle, and see how newspapers didn't go after officials for allowing this violent insurrection to even happen in the first place.
The bottom line? People are finding more thorough, in-depth, accurate, and fulfilling content outside of the traditional newspaper. No tax break, regardless of how big, is going to fix the issues they are facing.
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