This House would subsidise news media outlets
This debate forms part of the Official DDO Prepared Championships for Summer 2013. Please see the forums for details. (http://www.debate.org...).
FORMAT OF THE DEBATE:
R1 will be acceptance only, with no new arguments to be introduced in R4. 8000 characters per round with a 72 hour response time, plus a voting period of 1 week.
News media outlet: A printed or audiovisual outlet of the mass media catered specifically to providing coverage of 'serious' news. For the purposes of this debate we will be referring to print news journalism (such as the New York Times), news radio stations (such as CBS Radio News), and news television channels (such as Fox News) or television news providers (such as Sky News in the UK).
Any queries with regards to these definitions should be made in the comments section, so that they can be cleared up in Con's R1.
Justin, I look forward to finally debating with you!
I will be con, (a.k.a the opposition (a.k.a the Rebel Alliance)) and will be arguing that THS NOT subsidize news media outlets.
Orange, you're one of my favorite debaters that I've met on here, but I'm gonna do my best to....
*puts on shades*
squeeze you to a pulp...
I’d like to thank Justin for accepting the debate, and apologise for my lateness in posting my argument. I’m currently in a funny part of Europe where Internet access is somewhat sparse, so I’d appreciate it if he could post his response as late as possible? (Don’t worry if not though.)
As for my being squeezed… BRING IT. I intend to make you into JAM, JustinAMoffatt (see what I did there?). On to actual debating now…
This House would, in each jurisdiction, create a new national executive agency, the National Audience Executive (herein referred to as the NAE). This executive would, on one national platform, be responsible for measuring the audiences of all print news outlets (such as The Times [UK], or The New York Times) – a task which thus far has been performed by the news outlets themselves and not a national agency – and also the audiences of news radio stations and television news channels (working closely with agencies such as the BARB [British Audience Ratings Board] in the UK and Nielsen in the USA). Based on these figures, this agency would distribute a certain pot of government funding (which would be increased only in line with inflation) to all news outlets who did not explicitly reject it, on a subsidy basis. The rate would probably be calculated as a certain number of cents/pence per recorded audience member reached. This agency would work independent of government interference, judging for itself what qualifies as a ‘news outlet’ and being in itself responsible for the collection and measurement of the aforementioned data. The subsidies awarded would be reviewed every 24 months, so as to respond to changing levels of readership/audience for each outlet. I will now move on to detail why this plan should be executed with my first few substantives.
Substantive I: It will support the continued existence of print journalism
Everyone in print journalism knows that their medium is at risk of dying. To take a strong example from the UK; Britain’s most well-known and well-respected newspaper The Times is suspected to run at a heavy loss every year . It is sustained, in part, because of Rupert Murdoch’s reluctance to allow his favourite broadcast medium – print media – to die. We can see, therefore, that many newspapers are struggling to survive, and many are kept going at an extreme loss because of their name and their stature. Imagine, for example, what would happen if The New York Times were suddenly to go under: it would be deemed a huge loss both for the USA’s domestic press and for the press around the world. Therefore, we feel that we need to prevent the total fall of news media, and this could be achieved via government subsidy. Moreover, it is in the government’s interest to do this, as newspapers play a key role in the political process: informing the population. Crucially: older people are the most likely to read daily newspapers, and they are thus the most informed – and they’re also the most likely, statistically, to vote . If we therefore assume a link between being politically informed and being politically active, it is in the government’s interest to support print journalism through subsidy.
Substantive II: It allows continued business competition without overregulation
One of the big issues with what we propose is the risk of state ‘intervention’ in the freedom of the press, which is enshrined in both the US Constitution and various Acts of Parliament in the UK. Our proposal, however, still allows competition to be maintained, as the amount of funding distributed is proportional to the readership of a particular newspaper or the viewership of a news channel – yet still allows the proportion of funding to change over time and thus recognise the changing viewing tastes of the population and allowing new players to enter the market. This plan would not, in any way, give a ‘dying’ newspaper or radio station an undue advantage, because an outlet with a higher audience will be receiving a larger share of the pot. Equally, the NAE’s independence from government intervention means that the government cannot intervene to support a friendly newspaper at risk of bankruptcy. Therefore, our proposal maintains the same basic economic instability of the existing market while simultaneously encouraging news corporations to keep non-Internet news outlets running.
Substantive III: It will encourage greater representation of the news on television and radio
When Channel 5 launched in the UK over Easter 1997, it promised something never seen before, or since, on a non-rolling news network: hourly news updates during advert breaks  (except during films, as the adverts kept proclaiming. Nothing interrupts movies!). This was dropped a few years later, but Proposition believes this is an excellent precedent which other mainstream terrestrial channels should follow. News broadcasting is slowly disappearing from mainstream channels, being moved over to cable networks and websites with perhaps one or two news bulletins per day. Channel 5 has moved from having news updates every hour to just two to three (albeit longer) bulletins per day. These bulletins might seem slightly old fashioned in the modern day, but research suggests that a significant part of the population receive the news the same way their parents do: via television (or radio) news bulletins and via reading daily newspapers. We have already detailed more specific arguments for newspapers, but the principle stands. If we want to encourage better participation in democracy, and a better sense of citizenship, it is necessary to make the news a bigger presence on mainstream television and radio. By subsidising it in the manner proposed by Pro, we can do just that.
I will introduce more substantives in the next round, but those are the key elements of my argument. I look forward to watching JamJam try and stop me. ¡Hasta la vista!
I thank my opponent for his response, and would like to note that my lateness in replying is totally because he requested it... and not... um... *cough* in any way because I'm a huuuuge procrastinator. Ahem.
Now, to my opponent's, initially a-peel-ing, but inevitably fruitless arguments.
First, I'd like to lay out my opponent's plan as just the mandates they represent. This will give us a streamlined, concise, and clear vision of exactly what plan Pro is attempting to put into place.
This plan will:
-Create the NAE in each respective nation, which will measure the audiences of tv, radio, and print news outlets (internet-based outlets not included).
-The NAE, based on audience size for a certain outlet, would provide government funding from said country to said outlet.
-The rate would probably be caluculate based on "n (cents) x (amount of viewers)"
-The NAE would work outside of the government (while still using govt funding) to subsidize news outlets.
-The NAE would re-evaluate subsidies every 24 months.
Moving on to my opponent's reasons for implementing such an idea.
P1 (labeled by Con as Substantive I): It will support the continued existence of print journalism
To start off, I would like to show that this "advantage" to Pro's plan isn't necessarily an advantage at all.
My response is twofold.
1. The Times is one example, and does not prove the need for subsidies.
I have an article below (from 2012) that shows how some of the most famous newspapers of the world are fairing in today's economy.
Some, such as The Times, The New York Post, and (the same outlet which posted my opponent's source on The Times) The Guardian.
However, some outlets, such as Omaha World-Herald, The Wallstreet Journal, and The New York Times, are still turning a profit, despite the dying interest in printed news.
This tells us that the financial struggles of these companies are not universal, but a result of free market (driven by the demand of the people). Yes, not all printed news outlets are successful currently. But even in my opponent's article about The Times, it spoke of the famous British newspaper turning to a digital format.
You see, the printed versions of such news outlets may be lost, but the news itself, and the companies, will not (provided they adapt). This brings me to my second point here...
2. Print news should be allowed to die out.
Free market, as mentioned earlier, is driven by the people. The people's demands will be reflected in the sales, and (provided businesses are smart) the businesses providing for the people's demands will adapt to the wants/needs of the people. This way, the people are always satisfied.
However, what my opponent is proposing is that we subsidize a dying business, which will cause them to not adapt.
Note how my opponent's plan does not subsidize internet-based news? This is one fatal error of his. This is because the demand for internet-based news outlets is screaming currently. It is rapidly replacing print, radio, and tv news as the main source of information for the populace.
But my opponent's plan seeks to fight this. It seeks to fight against the natural progression of technology and culture, and instead stay with the old. It's comparable to funding VHS companies in a DVD-dominated world (Now, arguably blu-ray or even internet streaming-dominated). Then, when you consider the fact that the companies my opponent's plan is supposed to "save" aren't really in danger, but just seeking to adapt to a digital media.... you see that my opponent's plan is unneeded (and actually, counter-productive).
P2: Allows continued business competition without overregulation
I will agree that my opponent's plan doesn't allow for government intervention in news. However, it does worse than that. We're left with an agency, whose makeup of members is unknown, that can't be stopped by the government. However, they're in charge of which media outlets recieve extra funding (enough to keep their companies afloat!)? And they're paying for it with taxpayer money...
In summary: This is a bad idea.
P3: It will encourage greater representation of the news on television and radio
My opponent touts this as an advantage, as if it were a consequence of his plan that he should be proud of. However, as the source I showed earlier states, and a slew of reports show, the internet is rapidly becoming the source of news.
Is it there yet? Not quite, no. But, like with any technological transition, it'll happen naturally in a free market. The fact that my opponent's plan is helping a form of news reporting that is outdated and inefficient does not mean that it's a benefit for the world!
By my opponent's logic (and returning to previous analogy), we should have stuck with VHS because our parents watched movies on VHS. I'm not saying that we have to mandate a moving on to DVD, just that we don't impede the progress of society.
Now that we have my opponent's points done away with, I shall show a few extra disadvantages.
C1: Mandated govt spending
Simply put, some countries don't have the funds to support the media in their country. With a seperate entity telling governments what to do and where to put their money, we don't have the same consideration for the country's financial status as we would with the government handling its own money. (Granted, even with the government handling its own money... it's bad. But I digress...)
This violates national sovreignty on countless levels. But that's not the worst part....
C2: Plan is vague
"The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague." - Stuart Chase
My opponent has used this clever marketing ploy as a tactic in his favor, for sure.
This plan, as laid out by Pro, not only doesn't specify who is going to be telling these governments to spend on outdated media, but it will also not have a set formula for how much they can force a country to spend.
My opponent stated that "the rate would probably be..." etc. However, this provides us no safety or assurance whatseover! A plan, when it is presented, must be clear, concise, and c....c.... (oh whatever) a darn good one! But instead of following this simple guideline, my opponent spent a great dela of his speech otulining a possibly good idea, with a crucially missing mandate.
Why wouldn't he specify? The answer is linked back to my first disadvantage in C1. It would be too much for most countries to afford.
If you think about all the different news sources in the United States/Europe alone, the numbers needed to match the request of the all-powerful NAE would likely go unmet... or leave the country bankrupt.
There are SO many more objections I could raise to such a plan, but I will await my opponent's response due to character constraints.
I will summarize my current arguments.
-The Times financial trouble is the result of poor managment and a dying market.
-Pro's plan promotes outdated forms of news reporting
-NAE is unchecked/unstoppable, AND uses taxpayer dollars
-Plan impedes technological progress
-Certain countries can't afford to subsidize news outlets
-NAE not only controls the media, but how much governments must spend on certain outlets (due to vague plan)
Thank you, and I await my opponent's response.
Phew, that was close.... Orange you glad I posted this in time? ;D
I’d like to thank Jammy-jam-jam McDodger (note: your nickname will become longer in subsequent rounds and debates) for his response, and also for waiting quite late as I asked. I’m now back in the UK (umm… huzzah?) so he can feel free to respond at his own leisure. Though, since we’re both somewhat lazy teenagers, anyone religiously watching this debate probably won’t notice any change in pace.
I’d like to thank my opponent for his streamlined version of my plan which I grapefully accept and am happy to be referenced for the rest of the debate. I am now going to issue some rebuttal to show that, while Jammy-jam-jam McDodgemeister is a fruit-iful specimen of a man and a debater, his arguments are bananas.
Rebuttal I: “Some outlets, such as… are still turning a profit.”
My opponent is as guilty as I (allegedly) am of cherry picking on this point. I have provided a counter-source from The Guardian (I’m not obsessed with this newspaper, honest)  which demonstrates that the decline of print journalism is industry wide. In the UK, despite the launch of a new daily newspaper, circulation still went down by over 6% in 12 months in the year 2010/2011 – and this was before the closure of the UK’s most popular newspaper, The News of the World, in the aftermath of a phone hacking scandal (referenced later). Point? Yes, some newspapers are bucking the trend and adapting in new ways (though I will combat this later) – but this phenomenon is an undeniable trend affecting the vast majority of newspapers.
Rebuttal II: “The companies will not [be lost], provided they adapt.”
My opponent references the example of The Times improving the digital aspect of their business, but he conveniently forgets to mention one thing. In order to make this viable, they have had to go subscription-only, and introduce a ‘paywall’. In terms of readership this was an utter disaster  with visits to the Times Online declining by 87%. Point? Print journalism is only workable as print journalism. Either it dies or we support it in its old form, but the middle ground often fails purely because making it pay for itself – by introducing charges – is hugely unpopular.
Rebuttal III: “This way, the people are always satisfied [referring to the free market].”
Con, highly conveniently, drops my point about old people needing print journalism (try showing your grandmother how to get through a paywall – as I did – and you will realise it is a fruitless waste of time). The free market serves populism – allowing what is popular to survive, but not necessarily what is necessary. My arguments say that the necessity of print journalism outweighs its declining popularity. In this situation, it is worth intervening in free market economics.
Rebuttal IV: “Note that my opponent’s plan does not subsidise internet-based news.”
This is a question I’m glad my opponent brought up. This is not, funnily enough, because internet news is more popular and perhaps less in need of subsidisation – as gaining profit from the Internet can be difficult for news organisations (as The Times have discovered). The reason, however, is that what qualifies as ‘news’ is much more difficult to measure on the Internet – does a gossip blog count as news? Would The Onion or something similar count? And equally, how do we measure circulation? Do we include retweets and shares on Facebook? So that’s why the Internet is not included – not due to a bias in favour of any particular type of journalism.
Rebuttal V: “You see that my opponent’s plan is unneeded.”
I feel I have covered my rebuttal of this point, and brought this into my rebuttal so it would not appear that I dropped it.
Rebuttal VI: “We’re left with an agency… that can’t be stopped by the government.”
I think my opponent has slightly misunderstood my point here. When I said this agency was independent of government, I meant that the government would not be able to influence which newspapers receive funding – so for example a Democratic government favouring Democrat-leaning newspapers in the USA. The amount of money received by the agency would, of course, be controlled by the government – anything else would be unconstitutional – it is the distribution which would be kept away from its power. Given the lack of any provided objection to this, I will assume this point has been dealt with.
Rebuttal VII: “The internet is rapidly becoming the source of news.”
The Internet is indeed growing as a medium, that much I concede. But your comparisons with VHS and DVD fall flat because those transitions happened very quickly. As my source demonstrates  DVD was embraced by the US public very quickly and only took a few years to overtake VHS in sales and later in rentals. But rivals for commercial newspapers have existed since the advent of radio – with radio news – and since the advent of both terrestrial and later cable television. If print journalism is so awful and in such dire need of replacement, why didn’t it die in the 90s? There is clearly still a market for the continued existence of print journalism and still a lot of people who will stick with newspapers – not least the older generations as I have previously mentioned. This is not just due to stubbornness. And the Trification Thesis dictates that people fall into three patterns of news consumption: some are, probably like you and I, using Internet news and watching cable news networks. Some are sticking to televised news broadcasts and newspapers. But the third group just aren’t getting the news at all and – as I mentioned and you dropped – that group is very dangerous indeed.
Rebuttal VIII: “Some countries don’t have the funds to support the media in their country.”
That is a decent point and I accept it as a weakness of the plan. But I don’t suggest that Sierra Leone has to spend as much as the USA. The scale of spending would obviously be scaled to match the nation’s economic capabilities and also their stage in the digital transition – some countries are not as advanced as the UK or the USA in terms of Internet usage et cetera.
Rebuttal IX: “This plan violates national sovereignty.”
Well, each nation would obviously have to pass the relevant legislation to empower this change. I think that much was obvious. But the fact that it requires legislation to enact is not an argument against it.
Rebuttal X: “The plan is vague.”
Because it would be completely reckless of me to give precise details of some magic one-size-fits-all plan because, as I’ve mentioned before, each country works differently. It would be made up in most cases of civil servants and they literally just crunch numbers. Since they work entirely from measured statistics, who they are is relatively unimportant, as bias is out of the question. Point? I’m sorry if you thought the plan was vague, but the fallacy fallacy is not a valid argument. I’ve justified it being mildly non-specific, and I note that this entire substantive is ad hominem on account of me being vague, and not actually combatting the merits of the plan.
Rebuttal XI: “The numbers needed to match the request of the almighty NAE would go unmet.”
Reread my plan: the NAE receives a fixed pot tied only to inflation and all it does – ALL IT DOES – is distribute it proportionally between the qualifying outlets. There would be no question of it demanding more money – it literally exists as a neutral distribution channel to reduce government bias.
All of Con’s points have been dealt with but I’m out of characters, so there will be no new substantives (Con can match that if he wishes). Anything I would have put in a substantive has been part of my rebuttal.
Well, Jammy-jam-jam McDodgemeister Moffatt, orange you going to have fun getting yourself out of this mess? :P
I am grapeful to CitrusHavoc (or something or other) for his response. I agree that typically I would be lazy about responding, but with the week I have ahead, I'll have to force myself to actually be productive ahead of a deadline (Is that ...even.... legal?)
Kiwi go again. My opponent believes my arguments are bananas, and insists on raisin up a bunch of fuss about them, but I apple-lutely disagree. I will show you, once again, that the core of his plan is still flawed.
Since my opponent ruined my perfectly good method of organization, I'll be forced to adopt his method of rebuttals. (Sigh)
R1: Some outlets are still turning a profit
I accept that the decrease in print journalism is industry-wide. That was not my point. My point is that, while my opponent is arguing through appeal to emotion to save the great and fabulous Times, there are other hard working newspapers that are still in business that don't require the subsidy. Giving their competitors money to keep them afloat is essentially killing the free market! There would be no reason why a paper wouldn't just overcirculate itself to reach the masses of people, because it would make an eventual profit through taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, fiscally responsible papers like the NY Times, who have worked hard to beat the competition and earn a profit, would be done in by the government.
R2: The companies will not be lost, provided they adapt
If a company wants to stay in business, it will adapt to market itself solely to its audience, and learn to do so in a way that is profitable. If this means solely targeting the elderly that my opponent states reads the paper, then they should do as such. If this means cutting half their staff, then let it be done. The government can't be allowed to interfere with the free market, though. We would simply be perpetuating the use of, as in my previous analogy, VHS over DVD. It's nto as efficient, and people won't buy it anyways.
R3: The people are satisfied through free market
My opponent's argument here make no sense. He argues that a significant portion of the population read print journalism, but that they don't because print journalism is dying, but that they do because if print journalism died we'd have a bunch of uneducated voters on our hands, but theres not enough voters being educated through these papers to keep these companies afloat.
Listen, it's very simple. When the need for print journalism dies, the industry will be dead. As long as there are people willing to pay for print journalism, there will be a way to get them print journalism. This is the beauty of free market. In fact, my plan doesn't even state that we need to get rid of print journalism, just that the outdated tech will die its natural death. We should stop this plan to use the defibrillator on the industry that's dying of blood loss.
R4: Plan doesn't cover internet news
Whatever my opponent's intentions were do not matter. Internet journalism isn't covered. As a result, this government subsidy to the outdated methods of distributing news will naturally tip the scales against internet journalism, which will be counter-productive for societal progress.
R5: Plan is unneeded
It was just a simple Con rebuttal away from being a true statement once more...
R6: NAE can't be stopped by the government
I apologize for my misunderstanding. R6 is now irrelevant.
R7: Internet is rapidly becoming the source for news
I think my opponent's point speaks in my favor. No matter how slow the transition is, it is still a natural transition. My opponent even states that there is clearly still a market for print journalism. That's great. Print journalism is still necessary, and therefore, still in the market. Once the need goes away (probably in the next few generations) then people will be fully reliable on internet/tv/the holonet (Star Wars reference) etc. for news. There is absolutely no reason to mess with the process, because it would just be counter-productive.
R8: Some countries don't have the funds
My opponent concedes this. We'd be forcing countries already either barely scraping by, or riddled with debt, to be spending even more money. This alone should be reason enough to support the plan, but sadly is still just one of many (more heavily disputed) issues with it.
R9: Plan violates Constitutionality (sovreignty)
My opponent made it seem as if this plan would be implemented whether or not countries accepted it. In the future, I'd appreciate it if he added a seperate line such as "assuming it is ratified by all constitutional processes in respective countries" etc. If he is going to assume that these countries would each pass legislation putting this into act, I am almost ok with that.
But this plan still has an issue with sovreignty that I'd like to point out. It assumes that the U.S. government would adopt (into legislature) a plan that will affect the freedom of speech. By promoting print journalism, it allows for the expressions of those print journalists to be governmentally funded and promoted. Whether or not the government chooses where the funds go is irrelevant. These outlets would still recieve government funding.
Therefore, this plan violates the United States Constitution.
But since it is assumed it will pass through the U.S., it violates U.S. sovreignty.
R10: Plan is vague
My opponent is trying to dodge the bullet headed striaght for his plan's head. If he does not have a plan that solves the world's issues, then why propose that each country adopt it? My points here are A) With no fixed rate, any number may be specified. No matter who does the specifying, this is bad. If this plan was truly beneficial to the world, my opponent would make sure the world followed the plan, rather than allowing countries to allocate no funds to their NAE, making this plan even more useless than it currently is. B) With no specificity about who makes up the NAE, then our number crunchers could be biased. There is literally no accountability from our mysteriously vague accountants. While my opponent would try to argue that it is all statistically based, who's counting the statistics does matter. Just like in elections, it is all about who gets the most votes, but who's counting the ballots does matter, doesn't it? You can't assume the NAE is honest, and therefore, the vague understanding of who makes up this organization is a fatal blow to the plan.
But my opponent would not have wanted to specify. As he himself said, it would be reckless to give precise details of a magical fix-it-all plan. That way, there might be some visible flaws, instead of the ones lurking in the shadows. (Such as the fact that most countries don't need nor want such subsidies, and will legislate no funding towards them)
So we see that, either way, this plan is useless. If countries give money to the print journalists, then they're perpetuating outdated technology and ruining the free market. But if they use the loophole that Pro provided in his own plan (which makes it appear he doesn't have confidence it will benefit all countries) then the plan is useless anyways, seeing as it won't be used.
R11: The NAE demands would go unmet
I have been enlightened on the further details of Pro's plan, now. I understand that the NAE doesn't specify how much funding, but only who recieves it. This, of coures, makes them all the more dangerous, but is beside this point's... er... point.
In the end, I've shown that there was no "jam" I was in, except for the fig-ment of my opponent's imagination.
I thank my opponent, and look forward to his response (hopefully on Friday)
I’d like to thank Jammy-jam-jam McDodgintons for his considered response, although his ideas do seem to be mangoing nowhere. So much so that I kiwi believe it, are you lemon me believe this?
I think I’ve exhausted all my fruit puns now…
I do apologise if my method of debate structuring is not appl-easing to you (ooh, there was one left!).
Rebuttal XII: “Giving their competitors money to keep them afloat is essentially killing the free market!”
False, because we are giving ALL news outlets a share of the same fixed pot, and that share is related to their current performance. If we were just giving money to companies falling within certain brackets, or companies who were in trouble, then that WOULD be unfair to the free market and I would agree with you. The great beauty of this plan, however – and you yourself have accepted this in a previous speech – is that it doesn’t affect the balance of power in the journalistic world. It’s supporting the industry as a whole and not a particular bracket of outlets.
Rebuttal XIII: “There would be no reason why a paper wouldn’t just overcirculate itself...”
I’m not sure I understand your point here as it works against you. If a paper works to increase its circulation – and remember these statistics are calculated based on readership, not just number printed – then more people become reliant upon it for receiving news (something we want to ENCOURAGE) and as such they are all the more eligible for this funding, as they become important players within the market. (I feel this rebuttal is also adequate response to my opponent’s R2).
Rebuttal XIV: “As long as there are people willing to pay for print journalism, there will be a way to get them print journalism.”
Pro has already shown that print journalism is becoming inherently unprofitable, and Con has not really rebutted this. You yourself have said that most print journalism outlets are turning digital in an effort to stay afloat. Are people still willing to pay for print journalism? Somewhat surprisingly, circulation figures would suggest you are. Yet many newspapers are becoming online-only due to lack of profit. So I reject this point.
Rebuttal XV: “This government subsidy to the outdated methods of distributing news will naturally tip the balance against internet journalism.”
Not really, because the two cater to different markets, in general. Only informed young people like you and I are the real market who use both means – older people such as my parents exclusively use traditional outlets whereas most young people exclusively use the Internet. The point is that many people still need traditional forms of journalism because they are unable or unwilling to switch completely to digital means. So the balance will not be tipped, or even significantly altered, as this is an exercise in keeping print journalism alive while people still need it and not encouraging some print renaissance.
Rebuttal XVI: “There is absolutely no reason to mess with the process as it would be counter-productive.”
The reason why we need to mess with the process is that journalism is much more significant than the DVD v VHS example my opponent constantly insists on falling back on. This has much bigger consequences. If people aren’t getting the news, then they can’t make responsible and informed political decisions, and Pro has demonstrated this to be a very dangerous state of affairs indeed. So if we do nothing and print journalism dies while many still rely on it, the result will be disastrous for politics and participation.
Rebuttal XVII: “This plan violates the United States Constitution.”
This point from my opponent essentially seems to be a diatribe about the bounds I have set for this debate, but I’d like to refer him to the resolution of the debate. “This House would…” means exactly that. It means that if Pro were in government of a particular jurisdiction, they would enact the following change. (I’d like to refer voters to the comments section, where this was clarified before the start of the debate). So my opponent’s attempts to portray this as violating sovereignty are simply not the case, as they would be enacted perfectly legally within each jurisdiction. In some countries more legislation – perhaps even a constitutional amendment – would be needed. I would also argue that this in no way violates freedom of speech because, as I have said time and time again, this maintains the same balance of power. It does not UNDULY promote a particular view. So Con’s point is invalid.
Rebuttal XVIII: “If he does not have a plan that solves the world’s issues…”
As previously explained but apparently ignored, the reason why my plan is (allegedly) ‘vague’ is that each nation is different and can allocate different levels of funds to this project. There’s no point in me saying that each country should spend 0.04% of GDP on this (that figure was drawn completely out of the sky and should not be quoted) as that would not work for each country, so I would just be lying.
Rebuttal XIX: “You can’t assume the NAE is honest.”
Whilst I admire my opponent’s mild anarchistic tendencies and I empathise with them to a certain extent, there isn’t anywhere in particular for my army of civil servants to be biased, which is why my opponent has employed his favourite device – vaguery – and has not actually said how my number crunchers are going to misbehave. And since they operate independent of government influence (by which I mean that the government cannot adjust the shares given to different media companies, before Con sends us trundling down that route again), there’s no risk of being influenced to be generous with figures. All they do – literally – is measure.
Rebuttal XX: “Some countries… will legislate no funds towards them [the NAE].”
OK, maybe my plan was a tiny bit vague there. So let me make it clear: the pot of government money must exceed 0%. I’d like to con-grape-ulate Con on finding a loophole – albeit an unsporting one which only needed clarification and never really existed. I hope he can find solace that he scored one small victory amidst this utter slaughter of everything he stands for.
We can clearly see that my opponent is clutching at straws, so I will close Pro’s arguments with a brief summary of the Points of Clash (PoC) in this debate.
PoC1: In its current form, is print journalism sustainable?
My opponent has argued that many newspaper groups are surviving despite the decline in their industry. Pro, however, has shown that making profit in this industry is nigh-on impossible. Yes, one can go online and introduce a paywall. But Pro has given sources demonstrating that the introduction of paywalls causes traffic to fall dramatically. My opponent has even acknowledged these points. Therefore, this is taken to be true.
PoC2: Does this proposal interfere with the free market?
My opponent has argued that any subsidisation represents an interference with the free market. Pro, however, has shown that by subsidising all eligible outlets, and by allocating these subsidies to be proportionate to the existing audience of these organisations, it does not unduly affect the free market as it does not affect the balance of power among news media groups. We’re not just supporting ‘failing’ newspapers – we’re supporting the industry as a whole. Pro takes this point.
PoC3: Is this plan necessary?
Since we have shown PoC1 to be true, the continued existence of print media necessitates subsidisation. We have made the case that we need to keep people reading print media so they are politically informed and they vote. The rest is self-explanatory – or it better be, because I’m out of characters.
So orange you glad I waited until the time you asked me to?
This has been the best and most fun debate I’ve done on DDO, so I’d like to thank JustinAMoffatt for taking part and being such a good sport. I sincerely hope we keep chatting, and do another debate again in the not too distant future!
I'd like to thank my Not-so-Annoying Orange of a friend for his response.
I'm a bit melon-choly for the end of this debate round. My opponent and I do make a great pear. So I thank him cherry much for his participation
Now, onto his arguments. I've hand-picked the best of my rebuttals for these points that are just peachy, so let's waste no more time!
Rebuttal XII: Killing the Free Market
My opponent misunderstands. He isn't killing the free market in the sense that he's rewarding poor performance inside the print new industry, but he's doing so in he news industry as a whole! Now, assuming everything else about his plan goes right (which it won't, as I'll show later), then the newspapers will get paid by the government per reader! This is an unfair disadvantage to internet journalism! Yes, it's hard to determine who is exactly a journalist on the internet, but my opponent doesn't see the fact that any outlet that doesn't recieve subsidy is being harmed by this plan. The free market is trending towards internet journalism, as my opponent and I both agree. There is no harm in the current system to solve. We must just let print journalism die when the interest dies... however, if this plan is passed, we ruin the foundation of a strong economy.
Rebuttall XIII: Overcirculation
Ah, my opponent doesn't quite understand. Why would I, as a print journalist company, care about making a profit in the market, if I get paid enough to stay afloat by the government depending on how many readers I have. I would just practically inundate the population in frew newspapers in an attempt to gain readers/money. There is no balance required. Again, it messes with free market, and internet journalism, which would still have to balance the cost of recahing people and advertisements, with the revenue from subscriptions or hits on their site. It's unfair.
Rebuttal XIV: Print Journalism will be around with the Need
My opponent misunderstands this. Yes. Most newspapers are starting to get into the more profitable, more convenient, and more cost-effective internet journalism. This does not mean that those print journalism companies that still turn a profit are going to abandon ship before the time is due. The way free market works is that if you're willing to pay me $5 for something it costs you $2 to make, it's profitable for you to do it. Likewise, these companies will wait until there is absolutely no profit in print journalism before converting completely. Whether or not people are still reading newspapers is irrelevant. In the status quo, these newspapers will remain, they just won't be paid to live past their usefulness.
Rebuttal XV: The Plan fights Internet Journalism
Again, my opponent hasn't ever addressed the fact that he's paying companies not to be technologically progressive. Younger people only get internet news because it's cheaper, faster, more convenient etc. Print journalism is dying because it doesn't have the money to sustain it, because it isn't cheaper, faster, nor convenient. If it were distributed for free, while internet news required subscriptions, we'd see the trend return to print journalism, or at least a slowing of the trend to internet journalism.
The harm here, though, is less that young people will abandon internet news, but more that those who use print journalism will not be encouraged to upgrade, and companies will not be encouraged to adapt. They will be paid to distribute something what is slowly becoming an undesired product, long after it is still wanted.
Rebuttal XVI: No reason for plan
My opponent seems to be trying to get you to beleive that print journalism will die the moment after you check the Con ballot box. This is simply not true. My opponent has essentially killed his own case from the start with the facts he brought up. He stated that print journalism is in slow decline, but that people still read it. The point here is, once again, if people still read print journalism, then there's still a market for it. So long as the people's needs/wants are the driving force of the market, they will be met. But as soon as we get the government offering extra money for producing certain items, the scales are tipped in unfair ways to other competitors in the market. By voting Con, you aren't killing print journalism, you're just not going to use the debrilator in the man who is dying of blood loss. You can't fix the fact that print journalism is out of date, we can just watch it die slowly and gracefully as people realize the wonders of internet journalism.
Rebuttal XVII: My apologies
I believe this misunderstanding was my fault. I am unfamiliar with the "THW" format of debating. I thought, by the way my opponent worded his plan, he was using an international organization (such as the UN) to implement this, because he said there would be one established in each country, rather than this would be passed in ____ country. I apologize.
Rebuttal XVIII: The Plan
If my opponent had a plan that didn't solve world issue, he shouldn't have attempted to implement it over the entire world. If a certain rate would've worked for the UK, he should've specified the rate and that he would enact this only in the UK. He attempts to solve what he thinks is a world-wide problem with a plan that is too vague and won't solve these problems. With the loopholes and vagueness of the plan, he allows for Congress, Parliament, or any such group to essentially legislate his plan out of existence by assigning no funds to this NAE, therefore he cannot assume he solves the harms (that don't really exist, but... you know).
Rebuttal XIX: Cannot assume honesty
Again, vagueness was implemented so that no objections can be raised to exactly who these number crunchers are. However, that in itself is alarming. We have NO idea if these are partisan number crunchers, if they flunked math in middle school, or whatever. The plan must account for everything, and just stating that some people will be assigned to crunch some numbers and give some number back to the government which the government will have to pay to some people.... isn't necessarily an airtight plan. The least my opponent could've done is stated that some nonpartisan organization, or even the UN, would choose these mathematicians. He could even have said they must have a history of not being biased. But he didn't.
Does this seem nitpicky? It might to you. But in debate, when one proposes a plan, they must account for everything. Intead of responding to the fact that these crunchers could be dishonest, and he can't force them to be honest, he's merely stated that they only crunch numbers.... but is the figure that comes out really the product of what went in? We'd never know because no one keeps them accountable.
Rebuttal XX: No funds
My opponent is a bit too late here. He's already stated that he's leaving the rates up to the countries, and defended that in an earlier rebuttal. It's hardly in the spirit of fairness to change his plan in the last argument, and is definitely against the rules of any actual form of debate. However, even with this clarification, who's to say these countries just don't assign 0.000000001% of funding, which still doesn't solve the "harms" of my opponent? No one. Too many loopholes. It's a shame, but it's just how debate (and politics) are. If there's a loophole, it will be exploited.
I leave all of you with this...
Print Journalism will survive as long as it's desired/needed. My opponent didn't refute this. (Significance)
My opponent's plan ruins the free market economy, and will promote outdated technology. (Disadvantage)
My opponent's plan, even if it could solve for the "harms" of the status quo, has too many loopholes to be effective. (Solvency)
Therefore, this plan is NOT necessary, desirable, nor effective.
In light of this, I'd urge you all to Vote Con.
Thanks a melon!
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