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Argument: Journalism has/can maintain independence following subsidization

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Supporting quotations

Sara Catania. "Hey President Obama, Spare Any Change?". Huffington Post. January 1, 2009: "Government subsidies for the fourth estate are a touchy subject and will certainly raise concerns (as they should) about censorship and press freedom. But there are models to emulate (NEA, PBS). And serious journalism has managed by and large (with some notable exceptions) to maintain its integrity in the face of significant pressure from advertisers."


John Nichols and Robert McChesney. "The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers". Nation. March 18, 2009: "Only government can implement policies and subsidies to provide an institutional framework for quality journalism. We understand that this is a controversial position. When French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently engineered a $765 million bailout of French newspapers, free marketeers rushed to the barricades to declare, "No, no, not in the land of the free press." Conventional wisdom says that the founders intended the press to be entirely independent of the state, to preserve the integrity of the press. Bree Nordenson notes that when she informed famed journalist Tom Rosenstiel that her visionary 2007 Columbia Journalism Review article concerned the ways government could support the press, Rosenstiel "responded brusquely, 'Well, I'm not a big fan of government support.' I explained that I just wanted to put the possibility on the table. 'Well, I'd take it off the table,' he said."

We are sympathetic to that position. As writers, we have been routinely critical of government--Democratic and Republican--over the past three decades and antagonistic to those in power. Policies that would allow politicians to exercise even the slightest control over the news are, in our view, not only frightening but unacceptable. Fortunately, the rude calculus that says government intervention equals government control is inaccurate and does not reflect our past or present, or what enlightened policies and subsidies could entail.

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