Freedom of the Press in an Age of Government Intervention

The conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, who had previously joked about a countdown to a print media bailout, is currently cringing in response to the fact that one could actually come to pass for a number of local New England newspapers. In today's National Review Online she asks:How "free" can a "free press" be if it is leveraged with government funding? How free would they be to criticize other corporate enterprises seeking local, state or federal help to keep them afloat in hard times? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? A press beholden to the ruling class-a press that cannot stand on its own two feet and the strength of its product-is a press better off dead.There are, of course, valid counterpoints to the argument against government sponsored media: neither BBC News nor PBS has much trouble critiquing government or anyone. But given that so many media outlets are already beholden to the stranglehold of stockholders and staff-thinning, bottom-line-driven corporations, do they really need another set of hands around their necks?