Matt Welch acknowledges that the fuss over subsidizing the failing newspaper industries seems to ignore that these papers are already receiving subsidies.

Like baseball and movies, newspapering, no matter how frowny these days, is still powerful and noisy enough to qualify for the too-big-to-not-give-free-stuff-to exemption that most business over a certain size enjoy. Only through some fading sense of church/state separation propriety are those deals mostly limited to siting issues instead of direct cash handouts for newsroom operations.

The site points to an article by Ira Stoll of the New York Sun, which details millions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies handed out to newspapers in recent years. And it’s worth remembering that, in the early US, the national postal system strongly favored newspapers, giving them greatly preferential rates at a time when postage costs were significant and even the wealthy wrote on the backs and insides of envelopes to reduce costs. Indeed, the enshrinement of the US Postal Services in the Constitution was primarily intended to subsidize the press.