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Gibbs on Boston Globe troubles: what can government do?

Can government save the newspaper industry? If so, no one has told White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about such a plan. When asked today, Gibbs replied, "I don't know what government can do."

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The newspaper industry's woes are producing "a certain concern, a certain sadness" at the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs said at Monday's press briefing.

Gibbs was asked about the situation at the Boston Globe. The Globe is owned by the New York Times Company which had threatened to close the Globe unless workers offered major pay and benefit concessions.

The Globe is reporting today that management won't file a plant closing notice required to shutter the newspaper after reaching cost saving agreements with six of seven unions involved in negotiations for concessions.

No clear government role

The press secretary noted the President's support for a strong and free press but added, "I don't know what, in all honesty, government can do" about major cutbacks and closing in the newspaper industry. Gibbs said he had not asked President Obama "specifically about assistance" for newspapers.

And Gibbs used the occasion to tweak the press corps which peppered him with questions when the President recently called in his cabinet and ordered them to find $100 million to save.  "I would note that looking at some of the balance sheets, I wondered how you guys didn't think $100 million meant a lot a few weeks ago, but looking at some of the balance sheets $100 million seems to me a lot," Gibbs said.


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