The commission's report followed hearings on the business model challenges, and its ideas are by no means the new FTC policy nor necessarily headed toward it. It suggests a stronger protection of content, new tax subsidies, and permission for anti-trust collusion in certain instances to protect the business.
But critics have been searing, largely on the premise that the report defends the status quo.
Picard goes one step further: He says the FTC report doesn't even understand the status quo, and that in particular it fails to know how profitable the newspaper sector is (aside from bearing a bad debt load).
He sees the central issue as the fact "many consumers are unwilling to pay for the kinds of news provided today and . . .news organizations need to radically change their management practices and begin reducing organizational inefficiencies."
"If commercial news enterprises can’t effectively manage themselves, compete in markets for their products and services, or find effective business models for themselves, why does anyone think that bureaucrats in the government have any ability to solve those problems for the news industry?" he writes.