Tuesday, October 23, 2012

People outside the newspaper industry should object to Postal Service's deal with junk mailer, writer says

The U.S. Postal Service's deal with a junk-mail company is a scandal, Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane opines in his latest column.

The advertisements "already reach consumers via newspaper inserts," Lane writes. "What the deal would do is alter the national flow of advertising, to the financial detriment of newspapers like the one you may be holding. Struggling print media need this like a hole in the head." Noting that newspaper interests have sued to block the deal, Lane noted, "This gives me a conflict of interest, of course. Still, even people who don’t draw a newspaper paycheck should be able to appreciate what’s wrong here."

Lane argues that the old Post Office "was envisioned as a utility, providing a delivery network to all companies and individuals on more or less equal terms. Now, in its technological obsolescence and financial decrepitude, and with the encouragement of both Congress and its regulator, the postal service has been reduced to helping one private-sector entity out-compete another. . . . Our far-flung postal system used to epitomize American democratic efficacy. Today, however, Congress’s failure to deal with mail’s inevitable decline is a case study in democratic dysfunction." (Read more)

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