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TuneIn: Robert McChesney and government involvement in journalism

From the November 2010 article:

"To secure the future of journalism, McChesney says we have to look to the past. At the time of our country's founding, newspapers prospered, and did so with very little advertiser support. Instead, the government supported the press..."

Let's not overlook anything while looking to the past. Pres. John Adams signed a "Sedition Act" into law limiting the press. Only seven years after the First Amendment became part of the Constitution, printed criticism of the government became a crime. Yes, that law was enforced and publishers were jailed.

Jim.Gee's picture

Rick... you're so good about sharing observations in our forum... thank you!

Let's also not overlook the fact that the Sedition Act was allowed to expire three or four years after it went into law, and that was *before* the Marshall Supreme Court started actively engaging in judicial review. And Adams famously lost the election of 1800.

Government already plays a role in news media. Who do you think pays for journalists who work at public broadcasting outfits ties to universities? And yes, I know there are a lot of grants and CPB dollars involved-- but that rarely accounts for the whole cost of these news operations. And these government employees are among the most balanced and thoughtful journalists still in the business. Their mission of public service as journalists is supported by the mission of public broadcasting... and it has allowed them to remain fairly free of the ill effects that McChesney is talking about.

I certainly don't advocate the we should all be on the government's payroll... but there has to be some sort of way to insulate legitimate news efforts from the toxicity of the current political and economic climate....

Rick.Koshko's picture

I'm glad you replied, Jim. I wish more people would get in on these discussions. I like hearing other people's perspectives.

Rick Koshko
WCMY News Director