The Media Proclaim Themselves ‘Infrastructure’

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Long before the pandemic, the local news business had been in a tailspin. Newspapers across the country lost classified advertising revenue thanks to internet sites like Craigslist. Terrestrial radio stations lost their audience to iTunes — and then Spotify. Most commercial radio stations don’t offer news anymore. Most Americans under 35 think of newspapers and radio news as odd products their parents consume, like Spam and Velveeta.

As a college kid in Viroqua, Wisconsin, I covered local news in the summers for our local radio station and called in freelance articles on the city council or school board decisions to the LaCrosse Tribune. The matters discussed were probably uninteresting to most. I learned what a “property easement” was, and reported on the debate over how to dispose of old railroad ties. I didn’t find it scintillating.

The nagging question for journalism: Can you get anyone to read or click on decisions this “small”? In late 2018, 71% of Americans told the Pew Research Center they thought their local news media was doing well financially, even though only 14% said they had paid for local news in the past year.

Liberal journalists look at this problem with the usual liberal eyes. “The market has failed,” they proclaim, and the obvious answer is government intervention. In the 1960s, this logic of a lack of community service in broadcasting led to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, and the creation of the PBS and NPR networks.
You can see exactly what liberals like about their “correction” to the “market failure.”

What we have now is an extremely well-funded network of liberal propaganda. So it’s appropriate to be concerned when they’re now pouncing on the idea of massive government subsidies for local news.

CNN's Brian Stelter is an unsurprising champion of local news as "civic infrastructure" that should get billions in the "infrastructure" bill. "With Democrats controlling the levers of power in Congress, these ideas will at least get a hearing," he writes. "Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, said earlier this spring that local news, 'frayed beyond belief,' should be treated as 'critical infrastructure' that 'needs to be preserved.'"

As for critics? Stelter writes: "Billions in funding for local news?! I can hear the bad-faith mockery on Fox News at the same time I type these words." Stelter is so unsubtle that every conservative critique of the liberal media is a "bad-faith mockery."

One problem, say the liberals, is "less local news meant more polarization" in communities. But anyone can see that hot issues like transgender "girls" in school sports or teaching "critical race theory" are inherently polarizing on a local level, and, in each case, the left sees only one "civic" opinion worth hearing. The other should be discouraged if not crushed.

Does anyone think Stelter's CNN demonstrates a concern about "polarization" in its national product? Does it offer conservatives a "good-faith" platform for discussion?

It should seem obvious in looking at NPR and PBS today, including their local news, that their solution to "polarization" is to provide the liberal opinion almost exclusively and leave the "polarizing" conservative or Republican counterpoint in the trash.

They then call this "civic infrastructure." This somehow empowers "democracy," leaving half of the argument out or fiercely challenging it as anti-democracy. Liberals don't believe it's unfair that conservatives subsidize news organizations that don't let them speak and disparage them as vicious racists and worse.

Republicans never have any success in reducing funding for NPR or PBS. If they let the liberals start funding these local news properties, the same inevitable government-subsidized propaganda will result.

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12 thoughts on “The Media Proclaim Themselves ‘Infrastructure’”

  1. PBS is surely dying the “death of 1000 cuts”. It was originally sold to the public as an “education channel” and in the very beginning it was. Millions of little kids learned how to count and read watching Sesame Street. But that ended 20 years ago. Now 90% of programming is reruns of “cooking shows” because they are very cheap to produce or buy to send out. The rest is liberal news programs now hosted mostly by the same liberal hosts that we left MSM so as not to have to watch & hear their socialist narratives. Soon I will not bother watching PBS at all because the really good stuff is now available on Brit Box and the nature & documentaries are available elsewhere. And watching all the old fat guys and gals do their little slides and shuffles singing Do Op just never interested me, Sorry PBS, you made a lot of mediocre entertainers a comfortable living but your time is OVER THE HILL !!

  2. Liberal news sold america out along with the cia and democrats in the vienam war look up operation mongoose they sold them selves to communist china and they should be brought down for ttreason and sent to the ccountry they want to be they are nothing but child murders and child molester

  3. News Outlets are in fact a part of a Broadcast company such as CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC. These are Privet For Profit Companies. Why should the Taxpayers of this country pay for improvements or Bail-Outs of these companies. Just as with any business they receive revenue from other companies that sponsor their programs. These companies pay to advertise their products during programs that they think will reach an audience that will buy their product. We the consumer who are paying some Cable Company to deliver these programs to hour homes and then in turn purchase the advertised products are doing our share of the work. It is up to the Broadcasting Company to provide programs that we will watch. If they do not then we don’t watch and the advertisers don’t pay for ads during that time slot. If the Broadcasting Companies want more money then they should provide better programs and should NOT BE SPONSORED BY TAXPAYER’S FUNDS.

  4. “Greed” is the basis of ’journalism” that needs to be dealt with today. The rush to promote clickbait to make money off advertisements (in lieu of subscriptions) is problematic and leads to many ”fake news” stories that are rarely recanted and result in a lack of trust in reporting all together.

    Journalism needs to “rethink” their purpose and future. In particular the bias talking head opinion pieces that are often based on anonymous or fact-less pablum.

  5. there is a reason our Founding Fathers insured in the 1st amend “Freedom of the Press.” basically without Govt intervention of any kind. Govt supported media leads to a GOVT MEDIA filled with “POLITICAL PROPOGANDA.

  6. All in all, this article points out exactly the mindset that advocates for the perpetuation of the status quo so far as the current media situation is concerned. This information SHOULD have alarm bells ringing in disgust, but I highly doubt if this complacent American society will even do much more collectively than raise their eyebrows! Whoever first described this society as a willingly blind flock of sheep certainly hit the mark squarely!