John Stossel has a post on Dan Rather's really bad idea to have the government restructure and, presumably, fund the media.
A press that is financially dependent on the government cannot be free. Even if it had formal protections against micromanaging by elected officials, socialized journalism would inevitably be compromised journalism. It would be no more independent than a subsidized farmer or a defense contractor.
Perhaps an even better example are state governments. There are explicit protections - not just legal, but Constitutional - of state's authority vs. those of the Federal government. Theoretically, it should be impossible for the Federal government to impose, say, seatbelt laws or restrictions on drinking age, as those are clearly in the purview of states.
But enter Federal highway and education money. Time and again, states are threatened by the Federal government that it will withold money from a state -- money collected from taxpayers in that state -- unless the state passes legislation of its choosing. If the Feds can use funding to push around California and Texas, what hope does the LA Times or the Houston Post have of avoiding such control, if their survival becomes dependent on federal funds.