Senator John F. Kerry will hold hearings in Washington next week on the financial problems facing the newspaper industry, as dwindling advertising dollars push many US papers to the brink of closure.
The hearings by the Senate Commerce Committee, beginning April 30, are the latest effort in the nation's capital to help out newspapers. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, introduced a bill last month that would enable newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits.
I'm glad that Kerry sees the importance of journalism (although I wonder if the New York Times Co., which owns the Boston Globe, is so thrilled, given Kerry's pro-union views). But this is exactly the kind of help that newspapers do not need. My view of this is, "Hey newspaper executives, you have about one week to figure this out -- or else John Kerry* gets involved!" Because nobody wants that. As an audience member at a Kerry speech said not so long ago, "Don't tase me, bro!"
* And he still would have been a better president about Bush.