Sunday, September 13, 2009

In blindness we trust

Robert W. McChesney on The Death and Life of American Journalism (book due in Jan.)

The problem, in short, is rooted in the longstanding tension between advertising-supported, profit-making media and democracy-sustaining journalism. . . .

the Internet will no more spawn sufficient journalism than will the old media. . . .

Jefferson and Madison and our other founders did not roll the dice and hope rich people could make profits doing journalism so we could have a Republic. Instead, in the first several generations they instituted massive postal and printing subsidies that created the independent newspaper system in the United States. The value of the federal subsidy of the 1840s, for example, in contemporary terms would be roughly $30 billion annually. That is roughly 75 times greater than the current federal subsidy for public broadcasting. . . .

These were brilliant democratic subsidies that gave us quality journalism but also a competitive and uncensored press. We need to do the same today. We need to revamp daily newspapers into independent post- corporate entities, vastly expand funding to public media and find ways to subsidized nonprofit journalism online.

All of which, yes, fine. But why look solely to private citizens for subsidy, and not to corporate citizens as well?

McChesney makes a case for the need within a capitalism run amok to support honest journalism. Still, something is blocking our thinking -- preventing us from seeing how the profits of Big Pipes can be put into a blind trust to help support Net Content.

Corporations work on multiple levels in the service of unending profit. One of the layers is human freedom. That unendingness is the infinity that perforates any usable form of balanced economic system. There is justice in redressing the imbalance.

Labels: , , , , ,


Blogger jonhusband said...

Beginning to think that the blog post that you have linked to, in sequence, would be the bones of a pretty important article on journalism, biz models for a sustainable and intelligent stewardship (by Society) of use of the Net for "news", etc.

Have you considered escalating to a published-in-a-journal-or-mag-somewhere article ?

9/13/2009 11:58 AM  
Blogger jonhusband said...

blog posts, that is ...

9/13/2009 11:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Jon - gratified to hear you say it. Guess there are a couple of relevant and conflicting factors:

1. I'm still thinking about it, and there are a couple of more angles I'd like to put together before tying any ribbons.

2. Mags are fine, but I persist in deluding myself that if I say something of value here, it's as good as if the same thing is said in some official organ of some official organism.

Neither of which rules out the simulcast of something sometime somewhere, long as the fundamental improprieties are observed.

9/13/2009 12:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home