Sunday, November 01, 2009

State-subsidised journalism?

From The Washington Post (hat tip: Damian)
"The value of federal journalism subsidies as a percentage of gross domestic product in the first half of the 19th century ran, by our calculations, to about $30 billion per year in current dollars. It is this sort of commitment, established by Jefferson and Madison, that we must imagine to address the current crisis.

That level of subsidy to journalism is found in Scandinavian nations, which are among the freest and most democratic in the world."
This bit is particularly striking:
For the first time in American history, we are nearing a point where we will no longer have more than minimal resources (relative to the nation's size) dedicated to reporting the news. The prospect that this "information age" could be characterized by unchecked spin and propaganda, where the best-financed voice almost always wins, and cynicism, ignorance and demoralization reach pandemic levels, is real. So, too, is the threat to the American experiment.

Our Constitution is, the Supreme Court reminds us, predicated on the assumption of an informed and participating citizenry. If insufficient news media exist to make that a realistic outcome, the foundation crumbles.
Sorry to repeat this, (it's not in that article, but it's pertinent):
“If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.”
Thomas Jefferson


(Update: the blogger software appears to be dropping hyperlinks for some reason - no idea why. If it does it again, the Washington Post article is here):
http://tinyurl.com/yhjcsj4

2 comments:

Rhoderick said...

Yes, I've covered this issue about a month ago from a Nation article

Paulie said...

Would you like a medal?