Democrats Attempt to Establish the American version of Der Angriff

Benjamin Cardin wants to establish the American version of Der Angriff. Disguised as an attempt to help struggling newspapers survive, Mr. Cardin has introduced the Newspaper Revitalization Act. The bill primarily seeks to give IRS 501 (c)(3) and 501 (a) tax exempt status to newspapers. In a time when Mr. Obama and his administration are chasing tax revenue, newspapers will get a pass. But in case you missed the underlying impetus, here is a familiar snippet;

 “The economy has caused an immediate problem, but the business model for newspapers, based on circulation and advertising revenue, is broken, and that is a real tragedy for communities across the nation and for our democracy.”

Therefore Mr. Cardin and Democrats will use the tax code to shelter their propaganda machine. They will seek to overcome IRS restrictions against any political activity by banning participating newspapers from making endorsements. However, actual endorsements have never been the primary issue with many of these newspaper companies. In fact, the endorsements have generally followed a daily, overtly political tenor and generally poor quality of their articles. Many regular citizens even surmise that is the primary reason for many newspapers demise.

The story gets even more intriguing when one considers Mr. Cardin’s political contributors. At the top of that list is a firm called DLA Piper. DLA Piper describes itself in the following terms;

“DLA Piper became one of the largest legal service providers in the world in 2005 through a merger of unprecedented scope in the legal sector.”

Interestingly enough DLA Piper also has a “Media and New Media” Unit. DLA Piper describes that group in the following context;

“Communication fails unless it proceeds freely, without fear of legal interference or retribution. DLA Piper can help publishers and broadcasters achieve this goal.

 Our group is the result of the merger of three firms with nationally respected media practices – Piper Rudnick LLP, Steinhart & Falconer LLP, and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, LLP – and one of the leading technology, media, and communications firms in the UK and Europe, DLA. Many of our lawyers are former journalists, and some have over 25 years of experience representing both traditional and new media in a variety of legal matters. They work closely with our established, internationally recognized resources in intellectual property, regulatory commerce, e-commerce, and corporate finance law. Our Media and New Media Law practice group is a leader in the information technology revolution.”

Finally, DLA Piper has numerous registered lobbyists and is no stranger to controversy in the Obama Administration.

Do Mr. Cardin’s top political contributor, their lobbyists and Media Unit have any influence on his decision to sponsor this act? Has Mr. Cardin been lobbied on behalf of newspapers or media companies? All good questions for Mr. Cardin; he can be reached at 202-224-4524.