Fed Trade Commission Considers New Rules to Aid Struggling Newspapers

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WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission may be getting into the business of propping up struggling news organizations.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said Wednesday that the power of the Internet has upended the traditional advertising revenue streams, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As a result, the industry is falling apart, and government needs to change the way it is regulated -- from making news agencies exempt from antitrust laws to granting special tax status to making changes to copyright laws, said Leibowitz.

"We should be able to take action if necessary to preserve the news that is vital to democracy," Liebowitz, who is married to Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, said, according to the Journal. He said the business models need to be studied first before changes are made.

The remarks came Tuesday on the first day of a two-day workshop that featured Rep. Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp. (the parent company of Fox News); Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post; and Aneesh Chopra, associate director and chief technology officer for President Obama.

Waxman added that government will have to intervene to save the failing business model.

"Eventually government is going to have to be responsible to help and resolve these issues," he said.

The Federal Communications Commission is already reconsidering rules to prevent companies from owning newspapers and TV stations in the same market, an idea supported by Waxman.

Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article.