, , ,

I sent the below to my senators and representatives:

Democracy dies in darkness. Years ago, the late lamented Mr. Rogers gave an impassioned speech to Congress for the funding of PBS, and he helped saved a valuable public good: non-partisan educational media. NPR provides a similarly valuable service in radio (and the Internet).

Newspapers, however, are dying, and the local newspaper is nearly dead. As John Oliver has pointed out in a well-research piece this spring, the majority of investigative journalism has been conducted by newspapers, not by the major TV news syndicates. Without interdependent journalism, it will be increasingly difficult to fight the growing issues of fake news, news bots, and doctored videos. For truth to survive and help our democracy flourish, we need strong journalism.

Towards these ends, I think is worth considering a national public newspaper program for local newspapers, along similar lines to NPR. Such a program would provide necessary local services to small communities that cannot otherwise support them as for-profit enterprises. It would support the tradition of independent investigation into matters of public concern. It would aid national security in fighting Russian newsbots. It would, in fact, be much, much cheaper than most of 45’s spending bills.

I therefore encourage you to formulate and sponsor a plan and bills to fund a national public newspaper program (as well as to defend NPR and PBS).