Wednesday June 9th, 2010 informationliberation.com
74% Oppose Taxing Internet News Sites To Help Newspapers (Rasmussen Reports)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering several ways to help the struggling newspaper industry, but Americans strongly reject several proposed taxes to keep privately-owned newspapers going.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 84% oppose a three percent (3%) tax on monthly cell phone bills to help newspapers and traditional journalism.

Similarly, 76% oppose a proposed five percent tax on the purchase of consumer electronic items such as computers, iPads and Kindles to help support newspapers and traditional journalism. Seventy-four percent (74%) oppose the proposal to tax web sites like the Drudge Report to help the newspapers they draw their headlines from.

Each of these ideas was suggested for consideration in a recent FTC report.

Only 10% favor the tax on monthly cell phone bills to help newspapers and traditional journalism. Sixteen percent (16%) support the tax on consumer electronic devices, and 18% of Adults favor placing an additional tax on Internet news sites.

Seventy-one percent (71%) oppose the creation of a taxpayer-funded program that would hire and pay young reporters to work for newspapers around the country. Fourteen percent (14%) support such a program, while 15% are undecided.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on June 6-7, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

One of the FTC's central concerns is that the quality of local news reporting is suffering as financially struggling newspapers tighten their belts. Yet while Americans continue to see their local newspapers as more reliable than online news sources, they also have consistently questioned government assistance to keep those papers in business.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Americans are confident that online and other news sources will make up the difference if many newspapers go out business.

Democrats are more supportive of all three taxes than Republicans and adults not affiliated with either party are. But solid majorities oppose such taxes across all demographic groups.

Thirty percent (30%) of those ages 18 to 29 like the idea of a taxpayer-funded program to hire and pay young reporters. One-in-five Democrats (20%) favor it as well. But again adults in all demographic groups strongly oppose such a program.

In April 2009, 37% favored government subsidies for struggling newspapers, but 43% said it was better to let the papers go out of business.

Last summer, former CBS newsman Dan Rather proposed the creation of a White House commission to help save journalism jobs and find ways for news organizations to survive. Twenty-five percent (25%) like the idea, but 55% oppose it.