Argument: Journalism is public good for democracy, deserves subsidies
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Sara Catania. "Hey President Obama, Spare Any Change?". Huffington Post. January 1, 2009 - "Our aspirational society, in order to create a more perfect union, needs journalism. Not gossip, not snark, not uninformed blather that passes for opinion, but good, solid reporting. Investigations, deep features, reporting-driven storytelling. These are the stories that show us who we are, that shape the narrative of our lives and the life of our nation. But it's getting harder to sustain the journalism needed to tell those stories.
There's just one glaring problem: money. The lack of it. The late, great David Halberstam once described the life of a journalist as a donation to society, and I can abide that, to a point. I never expected to rake in the bucks, only to make enough to contribute my share to the family coffers. It seems a reasonable expectation."
John Nichols and Robert McChesney. "The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers". Nation. March 18, 2009: "The founders regarded the establishment of a press system, the Fourth Estate, as the first duty of the state. Jefferson and Madison devoted considerable energy to explaining the necessity of the press to a vibrant democracy. The government implemented extraordinary postal subsidies for the distribution of newspapers. It also instituted massive newspaper subsidies through printing contracts and the paid publication of government notices, all with the intent of expanding the number and variety of newspapers. When Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s he was struck by the quantity and quality of newspapers and periodicals compared with France, Canada and Britain. It was not an accident. It had little to do with "free markets." It was the result of public policy.
Moreover, when the Supreme Court has taken up matters of freedom of the press, its majority opinions have argued strongly for the necessity of the press as the essential underpinning of our constitutional republic. First Amendment absolutist Hugo Black wrote that the 'Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society.' Black argued for the right and necessity of the government to counteract private monopolistic control over the media. More recently Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, argued that 'assuring the public has access to a multiplicity of information sources is a governmental purpose of the highest order.'"