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Week of 1.15.10

Saving American Journalism

A radical plan to save journalism in America.

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Is good journalism going extinct? Fractured audiences and tight budgets have downsized or sunk many of the fourth estate's major battleships, including this very program.

The Weekly Q
This week, NOW's David Brancaccio talks to professor Bob McChesney and journalist John Nichols about the perils of a shrinking news media landscape, and their bold proposal to save journalism with government subsidies. Their new book is "The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again."

Should journalism get the next government bailout?

Related Links

Book Preview: The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again

NOW: How to Save the News

The Nation: The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers by Bob McChesney and John Nichols

Arianna Huffington: Journalism 2009: Desperate Metaphors, Desperate Revenue Models, And The Desperate Need For Better Journalism

The Atlantic: Can America's paper of record survive the death of newsprint Public Media

The L.A. Times: Most original news reporting comes from traditional sources, study finds

The New Yorker: Out of Print: The Death and Life of the American Newspaper

Viewer Comments

Commenter: jrome
There you people go again! The gov't can't take your freedom away like a private corporate moneyed interest can! Obama, what cable news crackpot instructed you to write that anyway? Oh and, by the way, big business has lived on enormous public subsidies for this past generation. (look it up princess Obama) I hear so much about property rights in this country that it makes me want to hurl. You people remind me of the ugly spoiled brat who would have tantrums screaming "Gimmie it!! It's mine!!" Who gives a rat's a_ _? Here's a news update. Not everybody in this redneck infested "repubic" is a private property owner. Princess Diana died in the 90's. To put it simply, royalty is dead!! What ever happened to public utility? How about public discretion over the daily goings on in our country, our media, and our schools. If you give moneyed business full discretion over our education and media, then any eccentric crackpot flush with cash can poison your children's minds with corporate biased canards. Please get a clue

Commenter: David J
I think that business should not be part of a press. And obviusly there should be a watch group ensuring that the press is spending, its resources in reporting and not into "bridges to no way". Yes i do support government subsidies for free press (but the key word is free).

Commenter: Michaelauknz
The End is VERY Near...of Traditional Media Power.. The debate now moves and needs to about the community building their own tools and media programs ..NOW is the Best Program to date about the change, honest, straight up and offers a workable solution... This has legs, get it up no effective opposition now exists to Government, industry and community pressure groups media content... Best of Luck..

Commenter: Scott Smith
These guys are totally unrealistic if they think people are going to vote for a media subsidy, when the American people don't even want to subsidize or pay taxes to pay for something like health care or food for poor people.

Commenter: Linda Hughes
We need independent journalists to inform the public of important issues, their causes and consequences, from multiple perspectives. The lack of competitive journalistic venues that is turning reporting into another mouthpiece for special interests is very disturbing. News papers may be too costly to compete in our present environment because young people aren't reading them. Commentary on line by something like an association of journalists with an outlet easily and quickly accessible to the public could help. Perhaps this outlet should be via access to a publicly owned channel something like the BBC. PBS is one mechanism for doing this and has a well proven record. However it is perceived as an overly liberal source by many conservatives who, consequently do not watch it. I wish they would and perhaps something like Firing Line would be attractive to people interested in multiple sides of an argument. Buckley was a conservative with tremendous intelligence and a respect for the opposition.

Commenter: John M. Morgan
I found this one of the more useful programs you have done lately. Very important subject.

Thank you,

Commenter: Rose
I think we need our newspapers,as someone with a disability,I need to be able to get away from my pc and just relax in a chair with a paper or book. Things we can put our hands on and keep. websites tend to scrub bad information when it suits them..

We DO need more real journalists both in news print and on the web,on The MSM, we are really lacking now, with everyone being a propaganda machine for their candidate in the non stop campaigning. Personally I wouldn't trust Huffington with anything ,she seems feel its her job to sway instead of report. Are we so stupid that we need "journalists" to tell us what to think? I really don't consider her to be one. Just a part of the kool-aid crowd. Again we need newspapers. Many people who think everyone has everything {like PCS} don't realize how many people are stuck with only reading,imagine that. It seems that like high school if you don't follow the in crowd ,you are excluded. That's a real shame because the very people that fought hard for reforms in the past are now being marginalized because they are older than 30years old or come from a background that isn't the new theme.

Commenter: Nancy
There are a few media shows online that are not biased and report on "real" news. Unfortunately, we have to search them out and most of them are, in fact, on public stations.

I watch PBS shows regularly: The Diane Rehm Show, Democracy Now, and NOW. A young media site is called Redwood Age. They simply report the news, not the hype.

Good news coverage can be found. Unfortunately, it's difficult and the viewer needs to be diligent in his/her search.

Commenter: aka
radical? no realistic and required by our union.
like education needs be as well...well funded
"...a well educated and informed electorate IS a prerequsite to democratic rule" otherwise "special interests will always beat down and out the interest of the republic. of by and for the who? all people or profit of 2%
as should campains be financed...of by and for!

Commenter: Nancyf
The most important reason to me of the news people are when they help us little citizens when we're being stole from or defrauded by business because they are the last straw when authorities won't help us in such a situation and we have to it bring it out in the news by local media people and ALL of the crooks involved will get in trouble! That's very important. Without the news people the huge number of criminals here in the U.S. will RULE! And democracy will be gone...

Commenter: Chetan Chandrashekhar
It isn't too fair to have three old media people talking about where media is going. There are new media sources which old media organizations pull stories from all the time.

One example: Here in Seattle, the Seattle times reported that there are no parking spaces next to any stops on the new light rail line. There are parking spaces near the new light rail line. Who fact checked the Times? A blog, the Seattle Transit blog.

I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Seattle, there are many objective, hard journalistic institutions which are blogs. All of them contribute information, and all of them do the hard research.

It is frankly elitist to say that new media does not research hard news. The reason big newspapers are failing is because, at the end of the day, a corporate board decides what goes in, and what stays out. Now these ineffective institutions are having to deal with competition. The same week that the newspaper called the Seattle PI closed, the local NPR station hired 30 new staff writers, and the local hard news blog, Crosscut Seattle, hired several more.

Old media organizations are failing because they suck. There is no other reason.

Commenter: Neil Fiertel
Newspapers must get together and have a single subscription plan for all the ones that want to work together and go through the Apple iTunes model or fee for all of them and then the number of hits per page determines the pay out to each journal, newspaper or magazine. It is the only way. Look at the pathetic attempts of News World to get subscribers..Look to the NYTIMES stupid future plans..they will crash and burn. Things have changed and it is time for the newspapers to figure this out. I do not want a pile of paper in my house but I want good journalism. Without the big printing plants the costs can drop dramatically. No one wants to subsidize old fashioned newsprinting on the close the hard copy and go online..period at a reasonable and sustainable flat price for all subscribers. Naturally, local adverts can be set using domain numbers so that say, NYT can run adverts for the city but for the world they can have world adverts for cars and coke and ha ha Apple Computer who will I suspect be running the show. Like it or not. It is the future and the future is now.

Commenter: Ann P
Maybe if they weren't so slanted and full of deceit people would trust them. People no longer believe the journalists, they have proved themselves as major propaganda pushers, not news people. Pandering to their chosen politicians, not responding to.

Commenter: christy hall
I am against bailouts period! Find a way to make your industry pay or stop doing business, but don't expect the peple who don't buy newspapers to spend tax dollar to bail you out! About time our country got back to the basics of business... if it doesn't sell, it's not wanted, duh.

Commenter: Thor
Wow! Just think a "free press" paid for and controlled by our very own federal government. I wonder what Walter Cronkite, Samuel Clemens, Will Rogers, and Edward R. Murrow might say about such cutting edge progressivism. My guess would be something along the lines of "just another nail in the coffin of journalism and free speech."

Commenter: Bill Steinbicker
Your interview with McChesney & Nicols is right on. I couldn't agree more that good journalism is vital to the survival of any democracy. The eroding of the foundation of our newspaper industry,if it's not stopped, is a harbinger of the downfall of our society. While I voted "yes" to making journalism the next government bailout, I'm offended by using the term "bailout." Like Public Broadcasting, I believe journalism, and the news media should be routinely supported by the government. This isn't a "bailout," it's common sense. The British have it right. Coincidentally, the PBS News Hour has a segment on the New York Times On-line's plan to charge for access. In that piece, the one argument was made that perhaps newspapers, especially on-line, should ask for user support, just like Public Broadcasting. Thanks for your great work; McChesney & Nicol's book is next on my reading list.

Commenter: J Eric Allen
I assume that we are talking 30B for all forms of news media, and doesn't include for profit entertainment, but does for non profit venues, such as Austin City Limits and Great Performances.

The voucher approach that was the main thrust of your guests book would have a very profound affect not specifically mentioned on the show. Such an approach would signal the end of the chock hold that big media has on American journalism, who in no small way are partly responsible for journalism's current distress. It would result in putting the American people back into the drivers seat when it comes to deciding who will be providing a vital public service, and I've little doubt that the resulting landscape of journalistic media would bear much resemblance to the current one.

Commenter: Pete Biddier
We hear a lot about special interest groups. So I would like you to show us, if you can; what it is that the people on capital hill do, with all that special interest money that they take. Do they pocket it?

Commenter: C. Ikehara
The article, "Reading in the 21st-Century", may be of interest:

- Has the unbridled spread of commercialism and technology transformed us from small groups of active amateur participants and involved citizens to a large single mass of professional passive spectators and nonstop consumers?

Commenter: William Zaffer
Today all we get is sensational journalism of demented one sided logic like Rush Limbaugh cynicism without hearing both sides. Our nation has been sold out to multinationals and certain people make money and stockholders while mainstream takes it in the rears and use the poor and what is left of the middle class kids to do the fighting for the illusory patriotism. No different than China using certain ethnic groups for their military. I am for subsided journalism if both sides are discussed. I am scared though when PBS takes money from Exxon or coal companies that use false PR ads like they care about energy independence and climate change when far from the truth.

Commenter: Ken Heres
The mainstream news media is trying to sell misinformation. Bias, lack of depth, poor writing style, and errors make most news sources poor. My kids were taught in grade school to never cite a news source to support a fact! Why would people pay for misinformation when they won't pay for rotten fruit? Newspapers are dying because people won't pay for misinformation!

Commenter: smrekar
Enjoyed reading the comments. Honest information, an enigma, and only in the eyes of the seeker. Where do 20/30 year old's get their news? It is sad that journalism is in such distress. The options to obtain news are many and mostly not fact based. It seems seems illogical to expect folks to find legitimate information.
First of all facts don't sell- Emotions sell (what a uniter the earthquake. Second behind emotions is money. Ask a person in advertising, an insurance salesman,a drug company or a fraud like Bernie. We are human and we want sources that provide the information we want. Sadly we need protection and honesty. From where I don't know.

I remember reading in SFO Magazine (Stock Future and Options) 3 years ago that banking investing and lending requirements were putting our countries financial health in extreme danger. Reserves were relaxed and reporting was sparse. It is not surprising that many countries blame us/US for the financial meltdown. Not surprising though that the strongly regulated Indian banking system felt little if any pain.

I want safe food, I want to fly safe, I want a good road etc... and I belief the business that produce those products have their interest not mine and yours at heart. Bernie is alive and well.

Information is King: Some prefer Limbaugh, some prefer the church some prefer ??

Commenter: Winnie
no more bailouts, already have had too many!

Commenter: Eric
Newspapers haven't gone anywhere, they've just morphed into a different format. What's really doing in the industry is the unions. They know the print side of things is dying, so they do what they can to save the print people who refuse to adapt with the times, rather than encourage learning new skills. Meanwhile, the online side of things can't get the necessary funding because a lot of the money is tied up on the print side (pensions, high salaries for low skills, restrictive job categories, etc.)

I work for a major non-profit publication, I see it every day. Bailing out these companies is just going to prolong the agony. Either journalists need to learn new skills or they will be left behind.

Commenter: jhoger
It doesn't bother me personally that newspapers die. We're not going to get our information from newspapers, we'll get it online. It seems clear that there will plenty of places to find "synthesizers" of news product, and opinion. So forget about that function of news organizations... the Internet has it covered.
The only issue is "news sources." I think you need to form corporate and public consortia that pools reporting talent and effort. Exit polling for example... that is a classic case where the industry bands together to do a job.
I'd like to see more discussion about that kind fo resource sharing.
I think there is a danger of corporations getting more control of the media. But I think that is already a problem. I already vote with my dollars and eyeballs for community funded media like public radio and public television. I am fine with big corporate media going the way of the dinosaurs. In fact if you look at network TV news, it's basically already gone the way of TMZ.

Commenter: Clare Ultimo
Not surprised, but totally happy that NOW took on this subject. Thank you David and Bill! But before I holler about whether or not government should subsidize journalism, I will have to read the book, as both of these men have been on the side of honesty, intelligence and fair play for many years and their ideas deserve to be heard. If you know McChesney's work, you know he has almost single-handedly brought this major issue to public awareness.

I'm not sure if their solution is indeed the best one, but I am happy that it has been presented to (any) audience in the first place. From the looks of some comments here, it seems that many folks are still unaware that our seriously compromised journalism is the root of our now seriously compromised democracy. I went to grad school for journalism/media and know many reporters. The plight of the honest ones is difficult and ugly. When you connect the dots, and work backwards from any important social/political cause, you see there is NO issue more important than this one today.

Commenter: nick dufour
I'm sorry but the news paper people have stopped doing thier job long before the web came arround. As with the car companies they should be allowed to fail only then will thier be a chance for real news to emerge not just pr and other paid to report junk they call news. long live real news to hell with the rest.

Commenter: Jenn976
This is the one of the most ridiculous questions I've seen in some time. No, "journalism" shouldn't be bailed out. Besides, who would the check be sent to?

What you're talking about it giving money to "journalism" outlets. But you are forgetting one of the main tenets of real journalism - a completely independent entity from whoever they are covering. There's not a lot of that these days. In fact, I don't see a lot of journalism happening.

I wonder what they're teaching in journalism schools these days. The corporations are in charge and will remain in charge until people are allowed to take over. For the time being, we have the internet until that's taken from us.

Commenter: Mark Ryan
Should journalism get a bailout?

Yes and no.

Yes, because we live in an age of communication and any free society needs unfettered access to news as it happens and as it forms as a matter of citizenship and sheer public safety. In this form, then objective, facts-based journalism ought to be bailed out in the interest of the national good. Journalists in turn ought to be reminded that reporting the news, especially local news and keeping their communities smart, up to date and informed in a completely objective manner is one of highest forms of public service that there is to be had in America.

But on the flip side, no. The state of journalism right now is not good due to the corporate steering of reportage and analysis that has happened in spades over the past 20 years. Objectivity has gone out the window in the search for marketshare and ratings. Reporters in some media have become "stars" and "celebrities" whose image has overtaken their talent level and reason for being, all with the blessing of their manageent because it was good for ratings (and possibly, circulation). If the profession of journalism takes government monies for a bailout, then what are the guarantees that their news content will remain objective?

Realistically, will news organizations be pressured to be less critical of a government that is in a way, now paying them?

The state of journalism right now has nobody to blame but those who put their own interests above those of the public they choose to serve and inform. If they pursue a bailout to re-form the industry, then journalists also need to plot an exit strategy for a time then they will no longer rely on government funds.

What about putting reporters, photographers and videographers into a part of a WPA-like program that would chronicle the times we live in and create a living archive?

Commenter: Dave Atkins
This thought-provoking story made a couple of big mis-assumptions...

1) online new media is ALREADY massively subsidized. The author's discussion of how newspapers were supported during the founding of the Republic can be analogized to today:
a) delivery costs ARE now virtually zero. Newspapers can be published online.
b) production costs are dramatically reduced because there is no need to run presses.

So shouldn't we be in a BETTER position than we were 200 years ago? The cost structure today should be less. All a newpaper needs to publish are writers, editors, and perhaps a small IT staff to manage the web site. Although I would make no friends of unions, I have to observe that most of the jobs in a newspaper business are no longer necessary. It should be possible to produce the New York Times with a core staff of less than 100 people coordinating, editing, and managing the writing of hundreds of local correspondents and and independent bloggers.

2) the assumption of a demand for news is highly optimistic. I believe people hunger for a feeling of greater connection to their communities...not lots of writing and analysis from some elite corps of journalists. People hunger for knowing what's going on that is relevant to them.

With no aspersions intended, my sense is that the authors are guilty of viewing the world through a bit of a hypereducated lens...presuming what motivates or should motivate people to civic participation. Consumers of news are interested in many different things--and we must accept that a large part of it is entertainment and vicarious participation in fantasy, drama, sports--whatever. Don't dismiss that as bad--it is all a part of real community. I think sometimes, we look back at the past and imagine everyone was sitting around reading Thomas Paine and thinking about building a Republic when really, I'm sure most people were thinking about basic needs and desires...

Newspapers are dead. But the evolving online participatory culture presents an opportunity for new forms of news coverage and an entrepreneurial opportunity for local communicators to facilitate discussion and conversations in their communities. If they can create value, someone will find a way to monetize it...but simply bailing out the failed newspapers will only postpone their eventual extinction.

Commenter: Doug Waterman
Just look around you. Look at what has been going on. The FCC under both Democratic and Republican administrations has allowed the media to come under the control of fewer and fewer outlets. Corporations own the media. This is how we were allowed to get into the Iraq war. In the last two weeks before we invaded Iraq the American media behaved like cheerleaders for such a misguided invasion. The media withheld information about the S&L crisis in 1988 that if properly reported would have surely affected the election that year. We clearly need some kind of government subsidies to help free the voice of the American people from this kind of media control. Yes, history should inform you that media must be free from money and establishment control.

Commenter: Gabe
Having the government subsidize the newspapers creates a big problem in that their is a definite conflict of interest. I think that newspapers are a dinosaur in today's internet world. Also, to say that newspapers in the past were free form government control is totally false. Newspapers are not going to make it and people will begin to share news with each other through media outlets such as blogging. What needs to happen to ensure integrity is that a news firm could mine this data and spread the actual news that arrives from the majority of points of view.

Commenter: Steve
I believe it is critical to have an independent news source, even if it's subsidized by the government. Unfortunately the media has been on hiatus for the past 9 years. We don't need opinion journalism, just the facts. I've got to wonder if there are enough real journalist available to do reporting.
We've been waiting for 8 plus months for a health care bill but instead of the media covering the facts of the bill, they run with the sensationalism garbage. How many more press conferences do we need to see with obstructionists, the likes of Bohner, McConnell, Inhofe and Coburn? What have any of them added to the process? Yet the "media" continues to allow these congressmen to tell lies about health care, which too many people take as facts. If that is the subsidized media you're talking about then it's a waste of money.

Commenter: Obama
PBS is totally unaware of the public present sentiment about big government and its exertion on our freedoms. It is sad to say but it might be time to get PBS off the public tit. PBS will survive independent of government. However, as long as it does depend on the government; you cannot trust its independence in journalism and therefore its honesty. It would be naive to trust any journalism that would rely on the government solution for its economic existence. I have fewer fears of corporate America as I do of an overbearing federal government because it has the power do take my freedom away.

Commenter: Pat
Why should the government bail out main stream media like the NYtimes, Fox news or CNN? What are PBS, NPR, or PRI, are they not already publicly and privately sponsored news agencies, which are non-profit? Also, I do not know exactly what type of paper news companies use to print on, but the process has to creates some type of environmental issue. If this is going to be an era of "GREEN REFORM" shouldn't we be pushing for News papers to cut back on actual printed paper and move more towards internet, free paper, news. it seems that news companies, like a river in times of chaos, are being forced to change course and maybe find a new more perfectly direct flow of information to news recipients. It is also important to note that this transition is probable going to put some people underwater, but is this not a natural part of a sectoral shift in an economy. Just as the type writer mechanics lost there jobs and computer technicians were hired when computers came around; so to should a shift in the media industry put some people out of a job and create new jobs for others. if people want to support a news organization they will, all the news agency needs to do is ask the people directly. Some people should be tired of being told where to invest their money. If this country is to become a Socialist democracy through forced investment in a time of downturn, someone should come out and say so. it seems to be working in Chain right?

Commenter: Redford
Who pays the piper calls the tune. If government funds journalism then journalism will increasingly become an instrument of the government. This has not worked out very well historically; witness the propaganda of totalitarian states who claim to have "the truth." Control of the press directly or indirectly through government funding is a receipe for disaster, even with those many promises politicians make as they run for office and craft their legislative agendas "for the greater good." Governments are power and not truth centered. Better by far though often uncomfortable in practice is a free press unbeholden to a single sponsor. Better the fragmentation of the media giants into smaller, fresher and more independent entitites.The internet is probably the closest thing we have to a free press any more. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the press is free only to those who own it. Don't let that be the government.

Commenter: RAF
No need for gov't bailout. The hope for "free market" journalism to survive is for publishers to wake-up. As stated by someone below "People will only purchase a "quality untainted product". Provide clear, fact based reporting of the issues. Be that covering health care, climate change, crime, financial or human interest. "FACTS" will sell, while editorial opinion, commentary, and speculation are available 'free' to everyone on the internet. A good publisher will find their market and produce a cutting edge, uniquely informative and publicly useful media product. Any newspaper or periodical that tells the public honest facts, over truthiness, will sell big and their readership would grow in America.

Commenter: David LeBois
You smiled and asked about increased government funding for PBS. The answer is No! And why not? It's simple - why should the conservative majority (and more American consider themselves conservative than any other designation) support your liberal bias?

You probably will say you're not biased, but two pieces of evidence from this week's show prove the point. First, you publicly praise liberal activist Arianna Huffington as wonderful. Which conservatives make your eyes light up?

Second, the promo for next week's program features a pro-abortion woman complaining about pro-life Democratics, and asks, "Has the Democrat Party lost its soul?" A neutral ad migh have said "Changes in the Democrat Party mean changes in the abortion debate. Has the party of Kennedy lost its soul, or found it?"

In the last 30 years, Republicans have won 5 of the 8 presidentail elections. Have you and your staff leaned Republican 62% of the time? In fact, of the 3 heads on this week's program, how many of your last 24 presidential votes have gone to the more conservative candidate?

Look to Huffington and Soros for your funds; they've already bought your allegiance.

Commenter: Althea Schoen
In your recent show you lamented the disappearance of hundreds of American newspapers and the loss of thousands of journalists jobs, and yet you failed to mention your own show is being canceled by PBS in April. Why is "Now" being canceled and why is Bill Moyers "retiring"?

I believe the disappearance of these two shows strikes a stake in the heart of our democracy, which depends upon an informed citizenry. Your programs, week after week, explore and tell us the truth about our government and the powers and forces that rule America.

In 2004 for political reasons "Now" was reduced from an hour to one half hour and replaced in its 9PM time slot with the Wall Street Journal Editorial Report. I suspect that again the powers that be do not want governmental corruption or the futility of engaging in endless wars exposed and so they are shutting you down. On the other hand, Charlie Rose enjoys an uninterrupted and unquestioned reign of five hours a week of nightly programming, during which all his right-wing biases are exhibited, that has been going on for years.

Throughout Now's run the program has showcased examples of people organizing. I think the cancellation of Now demands no less from those of us who depend on it. If anyone is interested, please write to me at hschoen at

Commenter: Nils Sorensenr
After reading all the many excellent comments from infinite points of views of this interview, it is easy to understand why American journalism, with "edited" opinions, is in deep trouble. The newspapers must adapt and embrace internet with unshackled journalism. Nils.

Commenter: Gene
When I want to "run" a classified I use craigslist.

I just can't beat the efficient manner my ad hits the press and the cost savings allow me to buy more milk for my babies.

When I want an index of producing journalists I use drudgereport.

26,775,064 IN PAST 24 HOURS

A lot of people use that index of very diverse news outlets. Rags from around the world have links there from ABC to BOSTON HERALD to HUFFINGTON POST to PRAVDA to WOWOWOW.

Good journalists will always find work. It's the mediocre ones scrambling for job security.

I found a link there to a story by Tarek El-Tablawy concerning Alwaleed's stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Well, I'm off to read some more news!

That's democracy in action!!

Commenter: KateQPublic
About this time in the turn of the last century, wagon- and buggy-makers were screaming the same kind of lament--'but the automobile will take away our livelihood!' If there were anything in my newspaper I deemed worth reading and paying for--I would still be buying it. The newspaper's loss of readership and consequent demise is the result, first, of an outmoded format (no longer must I wade through endless pages of black type to find a particular subject I am interested in) and second, the fact that it has become nothing more than a report on the remains of the day, not the catalyst for individual thought and democratic action that it should be. Remember the reason Gandhi had to spend his own money to publish and circulate news pertinent to TRUE civil rights. . .

Commenter: Christopher Newbold
Keep up the good work.You do impressive work.

Commenter: Rosemarie
When watching this Weeks Now Report I was a bit confused. Is the goal to save newespapers or Journalism reporting? We certainly lack journalist reporting of events and issues. I had thoght journalist were hogtied by Mockingbird and the edict not to panic and raise desent amoung the masses. Keep them in the dark don't inform them of the whole issue ideology. The ignorance of the general public is appalling. We don't know why were fighting a war in the middle east. We really don't know who is supporting our candidates or which lobby groups our elect support. Most American's don't realize that according to defination were in a depression not a recession because the press and media continue to call the economic crisis a recession. YES, we need freedom of the Journalist to conduct and publish investigative reporting. My local suburban press prints what the local politicians dictate without any journalist investigation and reporting. The editor consistently fails to print letters to the forum that oppose whatever the elect are promoting. However, I'm not sure we need to continue to support news in print. I rely mostly on internet news with my pop up blocker on. Rosemarie

Commenter: in_awe
"If/when investigative journalism and the world of print media collapse, what can save us from the demagogues?"

Well, approximately half of the American voters strongly believe that it was precisely the media that gave us the demagogues we have in power now.

It is interesting that only one commenter correctly identified Moyers and NOW as being "progressive" "journalism". PBS broadcasts are nearly without exception liberally biased and have been for decades. The bias permeates news programming through science and public affairs programming.

Your commenters refer to the few alternative perspectives offered in the media with disdain. yet, these commenters have absolutely no problem with poll after poll showing 90% of journalists being registered Democrats and self-described liberals or progressives. Similarly, these same "journalists" admit to viewing their role not as unbiased reporters of fact, but commentators with a mission to influence public opinion. Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed of how the press has deteriorated to partisan propagandizing.

When the Obama White House attacks news outlets and commentators by name and threaten other media outlets that dare to pursue news stories uncovered by the demagogued sources, we have reached a very dangerous place in our democracy. Now, you want to grant the government the ability to save or destroy media based on which advance stories or not that are uncomfortable for the administration and its friends?! Seriously?

Wow! Some of you commenters should read "Liberal Fascism" and see that this is a thread that has run through progressive movements for a hundred years.

Commenter: Will pay $200
I was impressed by the interviees but less so with the interviewer, who claimed that Americans would place journalism as 5000th or so on their list of priorities. This is the exact reason why we need better press - because journalists today seem to speculate at what we, the American people, want. Many of them seem to this that we would actually like to hear more about Britany Spears than about what is really going on in the world. They point to ratings and news sales to support this but what is perhaps not taken into account is the fact that so many of us simply ignore most of the news because we hold it in such low regard. I'll pay $200 for better press - just not to David Brancaccio.

Commenter: Steve
Absolutely not! We have by far enough news sources as it is, especially with access via the internet to worldwide news sources.

Commenter: Bill in Kansas City
I appreciate the time and interest devoted on your program to your guests' book and broader concern. I have witnessed the significant decline in the quality of reporting in The Kansas City Star, just since I moved back here eighteen months ago and would like to see further stories on NOW and other programs about the decline of local journalism.

That said, having just watched your interview with McChesney and Nichols, I'm struck by your title for your "Weekly Q": "Should journalism be next in line for a government bailout?" Your poll question, as written, seems to miss your guests' point.

Your term "bailout" presumes that, somehow, publishers should have "known better" (?). Your question treats journalism as an independent, private, for profit industry whose workings exist far removed from the people that the industry is meant to serve (and, sadly, thanks to Time Warner, Viacom, etc., and other enormous, for profit, media corporations who must satisfy shareholders, it is becoming as such. Hence, the need for prophetic voices like that of McChesney and Nichols.)

As I understood them, if a vibrant media is necessary for the health of a democratic republic in the U.S., then the expenditure of taxpayer dollars help ensure people's access to a vibrant media.

Finally, I was surprised that Mr. Brancaccio did not give greater acknowledgment to the large taxpayer funding received by PBS and NPR, and to the likelihood that neither PBS, nor NPR, would exist(let alone produce high quality journalism) without hefty public funding. I was disappointed that he chose to, instead, focus his only comment re federal funding for public tv and radio on potential problems by his hint at the flap over Moyers' direction of NOW during the Bush administration.

Nevertheless, thank you for an informative program and I look forward to viewing future episodes of NOW.

Commenter: peter
Americans absolutely need a lot more government funds for PBS and serious news and documentary channels. How is it possible that Scandinavian small countries have a lot better quality news and documentaries?
Americans are kept in the dark and that's why people are getting dumber by day...
Solution: more public funding for quality journalist who make documentaries!

Commenter: Reg
American journalism has been totally dead for a decade. The corporate media have captured the airwaves to promote their own agenda and to select the information to which the public is allowed to be exposed. The Internet has provided resources to counter this control, but the power of corporate interests has made so many topics taboo. Check out - their news, their editorials, their videos and their radio show. Get an idea of how much has been distorted and hidden from the American people. Thank you, PBS!

Commenter: L. Keeley
1/17/2010 The argument that media should be supported with government funding is premised on the falacy that it woud be objectie. We have a current and long standix example in PBS that this in not true. In Philadelphia and in my travels I don't recall any program or on air personality that was not liberal. You anly need to list the personalities and I can't thin of any that are not liberal to extremely liberal. Bill Moyers, Tavis Smiley, Dan Schorr, Marty Moss Cohane, Terry Gross virtually every on air personality is liberal. A good part of the reason is that they don't have to earn their keeep as all other stations. Over the years I've heard time and again the dismissive references to Conservative commentators like Rust Linbaugh and others and it's always occured to me that those on commerecial radio were honest enough to say what htey were, conservative unlike those on PBS who deny their obvious liberal bias.. Even on Market place they present Robert Reish an extreme liberal and Democrat appoligist. We can't hlave public funding because we will get only the news in agreement with liberal orthodaxy. Most of the issue programing on NPR< PBS & WHYY is liberal commentators interviewing the New York Times, Washington Post and Ivy League proffessors.

Commenter: Ken
I would love to see a free information exchange where people have a chance gain knowledge via multiple media types. Knowledge is power. Unfortunately, most people don't read well enough to gather their information from multiple newspaper sources, don't have a long enough attention span to view (and review) material that is more than a paragraph or 30 seconds in length and (in many cases) don't have the capacity for analytical thinking to weed out bad information. All of these skills are required to turn information into knowledge. In the days of the birth of our nation, newspapers were not read by everyone, many could not read, town criers read the news. We as a country were more homogeneous in thought and background than we are today so we could understand easier the causes of our neighbors and therefore less words and analysis was needed by an individual to make opinion on a topic.

Commenter: Anthony Blasi
If print journalism goes the way of the typewriter, then a nation, which has always thrived and benefited from exceptional reporting, will suffer the consequences of the loss of a newspapers, which still provide in-depth coverage of government corruption, social change, and world events that continue to shape this nation's resolve.

Forget the four minutes that television devotes to the wars in the Middle East. To understand these conflicts, it requires more than four minutes of viewing or a quick glance at four-paragraph blurb on the Internet. Grasping these worldwide conflicts requires in-depth stories that only print journalists can produce.

What the public doesn't understand is that all those stories generated on Google come from local and national newspapers. It is that daily reporting that keeps this country and its politicians honest.

Print journalism brought Watergate to life, provided the bloody details of the Vietnam war, and still brings Americans 24-7 coverage of a nation embroiled in conflict in the Middle East.

If print journalism does disappear, it will be this nation's loss.

Commenter: James P. Moran
Your " Journalism " segment was most thought


Could PBS promulgate further information as to the

manner in which citizens could assist with funding?

The guests you had on your show had some interesting ideas about saving institutional media, but I can't but help getting the feeling that they wouldn't work that well. For starters, if media were bound to a popularity contest (the voucher system), they would be churning out the same MSG'ed slop that the for-profit media does. After all, it would be about grabbing eyeballs and sensationalism seems to be winning out in that department (it's how they're managing to survive). This is the path that your guests were trying to steer clear of, I believe.
Furthermore, if we open up the playing field then do little blogs and other micro-media get a piece of the pie? Maybe some sort of centralized registry to prove our credentials before we can qualify? That's a door to a whole other dimension :)

A subsidy might work, but there once again comes into play the necessity of cutting the purse strings, as it were, detaching the money from influence. Unfortunately, it seems that when money's involved, impropriety is never far behind, so I wouldn't hold my breath.

We're facing the same struggle here in Toronto (and all of Canada, for that matter). Major publications are going into bankruptcy protection and many previously independent media have been gobbled up by a few massive players. The print dailies are the ones getting hit worst and, as your guests pointed out, this is devastating to the whole concept of a democracy. Recent rulings here have given reporters a much wider berth -- mostly to do with the notion of reporting for the public good -- but will that help to sell newspapers?

As they say, it's all about the Benjamins.

Commenter: Pete
A "free press" means a press which can not be bought. Somehow giving them "tax money" seems a little like buying them and their press stories. Nobody, not even PBS will "bite the hand that feeds them". This is not how true journalism is suppose to work. People will only purchase a "quality untainted product". This includes a true taxpayer free press.

Commenter: Ric
Round two...
The only hope for journalism and our "freedom of speech" is through immediate sensible action by every publisher and producer. They must stand tall requiring adherence to a strict code of ethics (blasphemy in today's world) by their employees. Remember any written article or broadcast which doesn't fall into one these four (4) categories is "fiction".
This is journalism 101, forgotten or ignored by many media outlets today.
1) Journalism: The style of writing or reporting characteristic of material in newspapers, magazines, and broadcast news consisting of direct presentation of facts or events with little or no personal interpretation, speculation, or critical analysis.
2) Analysis: A skilled professional examination, by subject matter expert, which provides objective review of known information and offers qualified scrutiny or theory.
3) Commentary: A brief non-expert account of events, stated or written, which serve to illustrate a point, prompt a realization, provide explanation or speculation, offer interpretation, present inconsequential opinion, or exemplify criticism or praise.
4) Editorial: A broadcast statement or written article that presents a personal opinion of the owner, manager, publisher, or the like, of a printed publication, broadcast station or channel.

Every publisher and producer needs now more than ever to show their personal integrity and strength of honest character by avoiding any bias, favoritism, or prejudice. They must likewise always remember they will never be better than their worst employee, and they will always be judged by that employees honesty and journalist integrity. It would also help if all analysis, commentary, and editorial comment was labeled as such, so as not to be confused with true journalism. Only then can publishers and producers re-build their clientele. Nobody gives their money or loyalty to a fool pushing a personal agenda or bias pretending it's journalism.

Commenter: David
Thank you for hosting the show about the changing world of journalist and printed news. After experiencing job cuts on a first hand basis, I feel for the journalists that are loosing their jobs. I truly understand how this impacts those individuals who have been laid off. I understand the pain of job loss.

However, it is rather ironic that the journalists are now finding themselves in the shoes of those in manufacturing. I can recall many news articles that have supported the out sourcing of "dirty jobs" and manual labor jobs to third world nations as a "good thing". Perhaps, it is good that we are ending those "dirty" news print paper jobs. I always found reading printed news a dirty job, leaving my hands covered in the black ink used to print the papers. Honestly, should we cry when a few hundred journalist are laid off when there have been thousands of manufacturing jobs eliminated. Please! Where is the out cry in the news for the manufacturing jobs? Did they really expect there to be no economic fall out from losing the majority of the manufacturing jobs? Who was buying their news papers? The CEOs? No it was the manufacturing worker who bought their papers.

As far as loosing the true independent journalist news, I doubt that the non-main stream media would be so successful if the journalist were truly reporting/investigating the news and expressing what people really thought. Instead they gave us the politically correct and government approved messages. I have never been more informed than by the internet and the loss of the printed news.

Government sponsored journalism- haha like that would not be tainted by propaganda. Let the market decide who should survive and who should find a new career. As in the words of many of the banked controled CEOs, "the journalist will be better off when they are laid off- they will be able to find new opportunities!"

Commenter: Joan Seymour
Totally agree that we need public funds to subsidize the public media; newspapers (with no ads to influence enditorial policy), PBS of course, and NPR.
A free nation cannot exist without a free and vibrant public media, daily print and other.
THANK YOU for airing this much needed discussion.
Brilliantly presented!

Commenter: Jill J. Jensen
NOW seems to be a victim, as well as the rest of us. What will happen to the archives of this program -- Web, video, extras -- when it is no longer regularly scheduled on PBS?

Commenter: Joanna Yates
How can independent journalism be effectively saved by government subsidies from government entities they are by definition obliged to criticize?

Commenter: Brian McKinnon
I am sorry but this is utter rubbish. Where was this great and independent media in the 2000 recount? Where was this great and independent media when we were pondering going to Iraq? Now, you want me to subsidize the garbage that you print? The garbage that no one cares about and this is the reason why it is not profitable? Thank you very much but I can do without. This is ridiculous.

Commenter: Thomas Paine
I just watched the interview with Bob McChesney and John Nichols in which they advocate public financing for the media. Interesting thought. Let's take a look at what Professor McChesney has said about the current system of free enterprise.

"There is no real answer but to remove, brick by brick, the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles." See:

Professor McChesney also said this: "We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimize it, and perhaps even eliminate it." See:

What would be the necessary step in deconstructing the capitalist system? Probably public financing for the media, which is exactly what Professor McChesney is advocating.

Commenter: alexander
The only thing which keeps "journalists" even slightly answerable to their "constituents" (viewers/readers) is their dependence on those same constituents being able to VOTE with their wallets.

What we'd get with the Governement dipping into my and other American's wallets to STEAL more of my hard earned money to provide these arrogant elitists a living, is a FAT, LAZY, INSOLENT, and ever increasing level of arrogance to print whatever they felt like printing. No need to bother striving for excellence or truth when you're paid regardless of news quality...

There's PLENTY of info out there folks... It's called the INTERNET and it is FREE and you can find MANY different points of view. It's this free source of information which really troubles elitists of every stripe and political affiliation.

Commenter: PBD
As I see it, we already have too much control of our news from the misguided leadership of our corporate leaders and from the PUBLIC TV programs (PBS)--that is why I cannot contribute to their one-sided "facts" with those catch words that make it appear that they do honest reporting. Is there really any TRUE journalists today?? Is NEWS really being reported? NO!! It is manufactured, then it is relayed to the gullible public as NEWS!! It used to be that, as in Watergate-etc., facts were investigated ---not just repeated with an (AP) by-line and no "author" who could be held responsible and accountable for baldfaced misrepresentation of information. Do you really think that the teaparty people don't know what they are being fed--newswise? Propaganda!! It is bleached news- fed to them to fit the agenda of one or the other political party. Get with it PBS, you are just as guilty--even with your "government sponsorship."

Commenter: C
I agree with the idea that we need information and how to get that to the people is the big issue. I find that when local issues come up for vote, or when choosing who I want to represent me, I do not have the information to respond intelligently. If we did have a local paper that gave me both sides, like the booklet we get when ballot questions are explained and we are give both sides of the issue, I would greatly appreciate that. I gave up reading the local paper cause it was only about crimes and bad behavior rather than informing me about issues, or the paper is not indepth enough. I do watch Greater Boston and Now to get local or indepth discussion of issues on PBS.
I dislike watching discussions where people talk over another person. I want to hear both sides so I can make an informed decision or hear my options.
So I appreciate the discussion on the show today and agree that having an informed population is important. I want to know where to get that information that I seek? I sometimes find the internet overwhelming when I seek to find something.

Commenter: Dorotha Cooper
My newspaper is the number one priority in my day. The Detroit Free Press. I want the print copy. It has shrunk to a shadow or it's former self, favorite columnists are gone, Knight Ridder is gone, it's a crime, If we don't have a free press Russia and China come to mind only the control will be big business.

Commenter: TD
Save the media are you kidding? If the media is worthwhile it will stands on it's own meritson cable or satelite In fact, get rid of PBS and save our tax dollars.

Commenter: Doug Renner
After decades of overconsolidation, a much needed democratization of journalism is now well underway. Technology is a disruptor, but this is a good thing.

As with any revolution, there will be casualties including some large brands which will surprise us.

However we should not take pity on an industry which, despite being tasked with the role of keeping abreast of changes, nonetheless itself fails to adapt.

Commenter: Mark Catan
This program excited me so much and I gained new insight. If this is to be a real movement - and I truly hope it will become one (I'll donate my 200 bucks right now and every year thereafter), I think the problems with journalism have to be tied to real problems that regular folk experience all the time. One thought that occurred to me is that economic investment is distorted when information is skewed or lacking and this leads to inefficiency and I did not hear that point emphasized during the interview but I am sure it is in the book. Uphill battle. Needs a grass-roots movement. I'm in. Tell me what to do and where to send money!!!

Commenter: Myrna Panno
I worked for a daily newspaper for 27 years before I retired. Papers need to stand or fall on their own. No bailout by the government would come without strings attached. papers need to be able to take a stand without government having a say in the content of the paper.

Maybe we need to help more people learn how to read?

Commenter: David Holmes
Great beginning to a national conversation of critical importance that should have begun years ago. My concern is whether or not the horse has already left the barn: the U.S.polity appears to have evolved into some sort of fact-free/strong opinion/entertainment media model.

I'd say keep up the good work, but I'm concerned that in a perfect twist of irony NOW and THE JOURNAL - two of the very few of the fact-based sources of news in just one medium - are on the chopping block.

The horror... the horror!

Commenter: Liz Gardner
I thought it would have been good during NOW's "Saving American Journalism" reference to the writers, photographers and artists who during the 1930's and '40's were paid by the US Government. These individuals were paid by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to record current conditions of poverty, unemployment, and family life in rural & urban settings. A story that brought attention and eventually New Deal policy change to American's.

Wasn't this a subsidized type of journalistic support?

Commenter: Michael Chilson
The authors interviewed on this programme have the right start, but are too married to two concepts: newspapers, and market theory.

Rather than a direct "bailout" for private news agencies, why not an independent state-run organization like the public broadcasters of most all other countries? PBS is fine for community programming, but it doesn't define the market the way the BBC does. While the BBC is not Britain's only good broadcaster, without it providing a quality product to compete with, the others would probably start a race to the bottom.

The United States already runs some basic global journalism targeting the rest of the world with the Voice of America and Broadcasting Board of Governors. Though any government opinion editorials are clearly marked, it is probably not as independent as we'd like for ourselves. Still, the government has already invested in resources to provide news for the rest of the world and it honestly shouldn't cost too much more to have it for ourselves, too.

I should point out that UK newspapers are bit of a "trashier" market than television, more tabloids and more papers that exist to put across an owner's point of view first and real news second. Our system is reversed, and since newspapers as a product are rapidly devaluing, it's time to shore up broadcasting and the internet to do "real" journalism. Commercial journalism will improve if public journalism risks eating their lunch.

Commenter: Darol Bell
Would the government bail me out? When I was in manufacturing, they had nothing to offer.

Commenter: Tony Wasabi
If you can justify subsiding journalism, you can justify subsiding anything. I prefer to pay directly instead of having my money sent to the government and then to some journal. News, journalism, whatever, will go on, paper may die, but I really don't care.

We have three major newspapers in Alabama: The Huntsville Times, The Birmingham News, and the Mobile Press Register. They're all owned by the Newhouse Corporation. And, in the case of Governor Don Siegelman, does no investigative reporting whatsoever.

Democratic Governor Don Siegelman,was put on trial, convicted by a jury that had knowingly been presented with false evidence, allowed to e-mail each other and the prosecutors during the trial. Siegelman was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Segelman's crime: he accepted a $500,000 check made out to the state of Alabama intended for Siegelman's campaign for a lottery which would pay for college educations for Alabama students.

Any investigation by the news media during the long trial would have revealed the dirty politics involved in the Siegelman trial and of the election blatantly stolen from him in 2006. Karl Rove and Alabama Republicans got Siegelman out of politics alright, but it would not have happened if the state's newspapers had done even the slightest investigative reporting.

Esther Davis, Huntsville, Alabama

Commenter: LaMoine MacLaughlin
I am editor of a small newspaper in a very rural area of Wisconsin. Our newspaper is published as part of the activities of a small town art center, a non-profit organization which operates several cultural and educational programs. Please understand, however, that our newspaper is not a newsletter, but rather a full blown newspaper with a circulation of 6,200 (literally everyone in our community). It is not subscriber based, but rather totally ad based and mailed to everyone, saturating the mail routes in our area. We are only seven years old, but are still very steadily growing in size, and have developed a very healthy and growing financial foundation. In my mean hours, I fault uncreative, unimaginative newspaper and news media management, trying to move ahead in the twenty-first century using twentieth century concepts and perspectives. And I am in now way suggesting digital media as the solution. One major aspect missed in your program, especially in references to 150 years ago, was that at that time, American was still community based, and there were still real, authentic communities in America. Local newspapers grew from and responded to those local communities. In our time, New York is not a community; L.A. is not a community; Seattle is not a community; Milwaukee and Chicago are not communities. Our newspaper is still part of a real, authentic community, and responds to its interests and concerns. Perhaps, more than anything else, we need a revival of the sense and meaning of real, authentic community in America, and perhaps only then can we have a revival of our newspapers and the real, authentic experience of democracy.

Commenter: Dick Wells
What's next? Government mandate to purchase newspapers? Is there going to be a news czar too? Maybe sociallizing the media is coming soon with Obama boss of all the major media.

Commenter: Satoko V
I support the suggestion of subsidizing journalism. Newspaper may dissapeare as a tool of "journalism". But journalists and journalism should not dissapeare. Solid, deep and high quality journalism is critical for American people as one of the means to maintain healthy democracy and society. As Professor McChesney and Mr. Nichols mentioned, I do not see the risk of losing independence from government as media by government subsidizing like Europe. I am from Japan and I watch NHK docmentary programs in addition to PBS. In the area of "subprime loan and economy crash" topic, so far NHK's "Money Capitalism Series 1-3" was way higher quality and deeper than any program aired by American Media. Only one reason. NHK is richly funded by Japanese government and individual viewers. That's why NHK could sent a group of journalists to California to talk to Calpers, to NY to talk to WS's former quants who explained the mechanism of subprime loan and how differnet financial institutions were involved and their concerns, interviewed former Lehman's CEO, studied the regulations/deregulations since 1930s etc. I strongly support American people get same level of explanation and study through strongly supported journalists.

Commenter: David Kronner
I am curently amember of both pbs ,and npr. america must have a strong public media if our democracy is to survive.

Commenter: M. A. Regier
I agree that it is essential to our democracy to have competing news media in each locality.

In order to create competition and attract advertisers consider the following business model:

An entity allowed to own* a radio/tv/newspaper outlet in a single market PROVIDED there is a similar, separately owned entity in that market.

(*Currently in Texas regulations would have to be rewritten to allow such cross-ownership.)


I grew up in Houston, Texas when it had three newspapers. Then the word "scoop" meant something and there was a vigor to the reporting when the newspapers had to compete.


A one-stop purchase for an advertiser who works with the entity to get the best value/exposure for the dollar in the appropriate outlet[s] would be an advantage and convenience for the advertiser.


I was an office worker in the Miami Herald newsroom in the '70s. I saw firsthand the good a great newspaper could do for a community, for its identity. It was the proudest five years of my life.

The newspaper will be able to survive because it can easily promote itself through such an entity in various markets and, by coordinating reporters in the various media (including Internet), improve its newsgathering resources and news product.

Commenter: Joseph DeLassus
I voted No on the Weekly Q question should journalism be next in line for a government program. The reason being that the problem of journalists is part of a much larger problem with the economic system and much of the labor force. Journalists, perhaps above all others, should be writing about this but don't seem to. It's almost like saying save me, don't worry about others, just save me. I've heard estimates that up to 60 percent of the work force could be eliminated through the intelligent application of technology. While economists have, for decades, accused those who who raise such questions as being hopeless Luddites it's becoming more difficult to deny the reality of technological unemployment.

Commenter: John G. Messing
The problem is not too much hi-tech, but not enough hi-tech.

The newspaper business model works very well when the area of a newspaper page is several square feet. Most of that is advertising.

But reading the news on an internet size page greatly reduces exposure to advertising. If one could download identical images of newspaper pages, the economic effect would be identical to reading a hard copy of the newspaper.

Development of much larger consumer friendly screens would promote many new uses besides reading newspapers which are offered in full screen format only.

We are told that the retail cost of a newspaper is intended to cover the cost of printing and distribution only, (and that the cost of producing the content is covered by the advertising). So, if received electronically, the newspaper could be free, and would actually increase its circulation.

Although I recognize that a free and dynamic "fourth estate" is essential for democracy, I am absolutely against any federal subsidy to prop up a failing system. The original subsidy by the US Post Office was "value neutral"; all newspapers received a mailing discount regardless of content. But some modern systems are very flawed. The National Endowment for the Arts subsidizes selectively, and The National Science Foundation awards grants selectively.

Commenter: Ted Otteson
How do we get this book into public libraries?

Commenter: Don Adams
In regard to subsidizing journalism to the tune of $30B per year, I see no justification to tying the subsidy directly to GDP. In regard to the US, you also have to take into consideration that we are broke.

Also, if the government did subsidize journalism in a hands off manner, there would be no way to insure it would be "fair and balanced" in deed as well as word.

Commenter: Wilma Thompson
It's heartbreaking to see what's been happening to our newspapers, but I keep hoping that someone powerful enough to make our government understand how important these publications are to a Democracy will get the message through to those who can save them for us. Thank Heaven for PBS. Keep up the good fight!

Commenter: JoAnn Witt
Yes, if done the way John suggested; not if given to newspapers as they are now.

Will you continue to have an internet show. Your show will be eliminated by PBS, I have heard.

Sincerely yours,

Commenter: Aliza Keddem
It is absolutely unthinkable to exist in a large modern society without information. Democracy depends on informed citizenry. Without information we'll be fed corporate-friendly public relations inane information or government-friendly releases. No matter how non-authoritarian the government seems to be, it has to be accountable and only independent journalists can perform this task. We must find ways to fund independent investigative journalists. Other democratic countries do so and they have a thriving non-subservient journalism. We must too!

Commenter: Robert Beamish/
As a four-score and counting citizen I dispute the assertion that the great American Public wants or would be willing to pay for any variety of real news. As a paper boy in 1941 I delivered 100 daily papers to a village of 500. These days 100 papers would cover a substantial city. We have become illerates addicted to miniscule entertaining sound bites.

Commenter: Ric
The only hope for journalism and our "freedom of speech" is through immediate sensible action by every publisher and producer. They must stand tall requiring adherence to a strict code of ethics (blasphemy in today's world) by their employees. Remember any written article or broadcast which doesn't fall into one these four (4) categories is "fiction". This is journalism 101, forgotten or ignored by many media outlets today.

1) Journalism: The style of writing or reporting characteristic of material in newspapers, magazines, and broadcast news consisting of direct presentation of facts or events with little or no personal interpretation, speculation, or critical analysis.
2) Analysis: A skilled professional examination, by subject matter expert, which provides objective review of known information and offers qualified scrutiny or theory.
3) Commentary: A brief non-expert account of events, stated or written, which serve to illustrate a point, prompt a realization, provide explanation or speculation, offer interpretation, present inconsequential opinion, or exemplify criticism or praise.
4) Editorial: A broadcast statement or written article that presents a personal opinion of the owner, manager, publisher, or the like, of a printed publication, broadcast station or channel.

Every publisher and producer needs now more than ever to show their personal integrity and strength of honest character by avoiding any bias, favoritism, or prejudice. They must likewise always remember they will never be better than their worst employee, and they will always be judged by that employees honesty and journalist integrity. It would also help if all analysis, commentary, and editorial comment was labeled as such, so as not to be confused with true journalism. Only then can publishers and producers re-build their clientele. Nobody gives their money or loyalty to a fool pushing a personal agenda or bias pretending it's journalism.
Good luck...

Commenter: John Carlson
Seems like a good idea, government sponsorship of the news. It's probably time to completely surrender the facade of objectivity and just admit to being a propaganda machine. Are you on something?

Commenter: Jerry Ann Campbell
I have been increasingly worried about our "free press" in this country.
Solid journalism, using traditional journalistic standards are essential to our democracy.
It's bad enough that many people rely on TV for their "news" information and don't even read papers but for Americans that value real investigative news and value this country, we must protect our written news.
I worry about all this greed replacing basic democratic principles.
Also I received an email that Moyers and Now are being terminated. I would like to know why??????
These are both excellent programs. These programs are wny I support PBS.
Now does outstanding investigative reporting.

Commenter: Judith A. Nicolson
Government failure to enforce anti-trust led directly to corporate takeover of the media. Thousands of small, independent newspapers were bought up and silenced, eliminating tens of thousands of low paid but dedicated reporters with roots in their towns and cities.

Since advertising has fled to the Internet, a public subsidy should be considered, but mega-media must first be split up by legislation.

Commenter: Ingrid Stocking
It was hard to sleep after watching this program. If/when investigative journalism and the world of print media collapse, what can save us from the demagogues?

Commenter: John P. Falchi
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention through the show, "Saving American Journalism." I believe that good journalism must be saved in the form of independent, credible reporting, regardless of whether it appears on the internet, over the air waves, or in a newspaper or magazine.

In any case, rethinking the way the public gets its news is certainly in order. We can't just bail out the old forms to preserve what they once represented in American culture. Rather, I think we should be encouraging the original, youthful forms of journalism that are burgeoning up in our society and enabling them to survive to become the new "Fourth Estate."

Commenter: Gabrielle Feinholtz
The concluding assumption that given the opportunity to participate in a public discussion about this issue, the result would inevitably be a desire for facts allowing the citizen to contribute an informed decision troubles me. The health care debate and town hall meetings have shown this to be false.
We are lazy; accustomed to being told what to want, how much we need it, and where the true enemy lies. The realization that we are the enemy will be an accidental discovery after much applied journalism.
This needs to be packaged and marketed, just like every spending decision Americans face today; it has to be sold. A different label for each target market. It is not dishonest,each interest group will end up with a greater voice, each believing they are the obvious right voice. We will accidentally be hearing other opinions due to the ensuing volume.
It's like planing a trip to your favorite restaurant, being told you will get a subsidy to go there, then fining out it's only one cuisine on the circuit you have bought a ticket to. You own the ticket, maybe then check out a few palatable options, Maybe visiting a crazy concept diner, thinking how right you'll be about how wrong they are, will expose you to how many other people are nourished by other presentations.
Nobody will by the ticket to be informed, they have to believe it will benefit the only real...theirs. The discovery of perspective, in order to be fully owned, needs to not be the original reason for buying in.
Sell It, market by market!

Gabrielle Feinholtz

Commenter: W H. Wilkerson
Journalism should "NOT" be government subsidized, I have a better solution. Three times per week, every week when I open my mail box I find within it advertisements from local businesses. They are printed on the same paper as a newspaper would be. I don't bother looking at them and like all other people in this neighborhood I toss the adds in a trash bin, the end result of which is filling up our landfills. I wish they would make such practices of mass mailing advertisements illegal
If local business wants to send advertisements to my mail box there should be a law requiring them to do so through a local newspaper that way I get the local news with the advertisements enclosed.

Commenter: Howard Greyber, Ph.D. (Physics)
Money distribution would mirror Academia's worst prejudices! Students at Columbia School of Journalism say they go into journalism to influence people, NOT to inform! Notice John Nichols praises the GUARDIAN in Britain, not the TELEGRAPH that I prefer. Political reporting today, even in The New York Times, is heavily biased towards "liberal", i.e. left-wing "reporting", in the guise of "senior officials said", etc. Ronald Reagan deliberately had to go over the very strong left-wing bias of the "mainstream media" to communicate his ideas.

Commenter: Jo Anne Coates
Your question: "Should journalism be next in line for a government bailout" continues to add to the distortion and demise of our democracy. Government funds are citizens tax dollars. Yes, "our" money, not the "government's" money. And, dear David, speak for yourself. We the people understand the value of the free press, independent and investigative journalism, and it's essential role in a democracy! I support the serious consideration of enabling taxpayers to indicate on their annual tax returns where they would like their tax dollars allocated: education, public media, defense, health care, to vulnerable populations .... we all know that Congress is not representing citizen's interests. We should have an opportunity to fund public channels of media in every U.S. market. And the idea that independent journalism will experience a rebirth and finally call cable, network and other mediums that are referred to as "media" to a higher standard is WAY overdue. WAKE UP AMERICA! LET"S DO THIS!

Commenter: edie groner
Thanks for your program tonight with Bob McChesney and John Nichols. There presentation was very informative. I would have voted for the public subsidy of investigative journalism but wasn't able to click on vote to vote as it just gave results. It didnt'work. I want your program to stay on the air and heard that you might not continue after April along with Moyers Journal. this is very bad news if it is true. We need your program and Moyers program very badly. Why is this happening? I heard Bush backers are trying to put more conservative programing on PBS! they are the ones cutting the public funding for PBS. I guess they really don'[t want progressive programs to be funded like Moyers and NOW. What has is happening to our democracy?

Commenter: Kurt Bonifay
The situation being described by these authors was brought on by the very situation they present as an ideal... one-sided reportage which did not reflect the positions of the community the newspaper purported to represent !! Once the subscriber/supporter of the newspaper recognizes the editors' viewpoint is not germane, he cancels his subscription,and the advertiser eventually realizes he is not reaching his targeted audience and he stops using the media... ergo another failed enterprise, suicide by his own hand/ideas.

Commenter: Chuck W.
Journalism should not be next in line for a government bailout, because there should be NO LINE for government bailouts. Why would I want the government to use my money to buy something that I've already chosen not to purchase?

Commenter: Powell, Tabitha
Who will keep our politicians, our community leaders, our own police forces honest without the hard working journalist hitting the streets, asking the hard questions, digging for the truth and keeping the people of this nation informed and the leaders of this nation scared straight. I question, would we as a nation be in the shape that we are in if we had as many journalists employed right now as we did in the eighties.

I live in a small town that prints once weekly a news paper. In it is the town gossip. There is rarely any information that tells us why all the plants in the area a having to lay off, or how much our school budget is and how far it has to be stretched. I would love to see some real numbers about school taxation and how much our community gives for school taxes verses how much of it actually gets to the schools of our communities?

I beleive that the American people need the eye openers printied in the paper daily. The real news that is being for the most part overlooked at this time in our history becuause the journalists that do have jobs follow what all the other journalists are following.

It's like the old magician, keep your eye over here and even with the who world watching we never see the truth.

Commenter: Tony McQuilkin
Q: Should journalism get the next government bailout?
A: NO! It would be far too tempting for government to pick who gets the subsidy. This was quite clear when President Obama made his distaste for Fox News known, and suggesting his administration might boycott it. If American journalism is dying it is because most reporters have stopped doing investigative reporting and have more or less become advocates for the kind of "change" they favor, which is mostly liberal.

Commenter: Steven Heckman
Absolutely. We the people are a people asleep at the wheel. It has become government of the people, by the corporations, and for the corporations. We desperately need the media. Vouchers or tax credits, something like that is necessary. Your guests made excellent and powerful arguments for government subsidy of the media via mechanisms that empower the voices and discussions of the people, but that cripple the politician's capacity to silence our media. Our founding fathers would be proud of your guests.

Commenter: MeetingHouse
There are many problems with their argument. First, you can't have a free press if it's gov subsidized - remember "follow the money." Someon gets to decide who's on the subsidy list. Second, they want a way to deliver the news free or at low cost - they already have it - the internet! It's available to everyone. Bottom line seems to be that they are in love with paper. Instead of bemoaning the loss of news papers, create a way to do the same thing on the web and quit complaining that they can't make money or that no one will read it. Third, doing news on the web does not necessitate doing away with editors and quality journalism. You just figure out how to do the same thing, except digitally. You don't ask Amercians to pay your salary through taxes or tax credits.

Commenter: Kathleen Blythe
I agree with Nichols and McChesney on the gravity of journalism's predicament and the direct implications that it has on the public's right to know. The fragmented Internet is not a replacement for community newspapers. Since a healthy Democracy requires informed citizens; I think the subsidized model is worth pursuing and/or newspapers that operate as non-profit public services. Note that the Pew Charitable Trust has an excellent initiative tracking exactly what the Federal Government is already subsidizing!

Commenter: Kay Davis
The question should be "Should journalism be next in line for a government investment?" This investment in our democracy is similar to our investment in public education, highway infrastructure etc. Those are not considered a "bailout."

Commenter: Rudy V. Silva
A Free press MUST be part of a Free Society. The IGNORANT apathetic eletorate seem to be growing in numbers and threaten the survival of our society.

Commenter: Gladys Teske
I very much enjoyed the discussion on The Death and Life of American Journalism. I am a Canadian. Yes, one of those 'Coloniasts. Having traveled to different countries and having read their newspapers, I was always amazed how much much different the reporting is, and how different the content is, than in our Canadian newspapers.
I know how biased the media is here...and, for example, how many items which are anti-Israel are not allowed by the publishers.
I've been to Israel and the Palestinian Territories a few times. I know first hand how different the real picture is from what is being reported in the
American and Canadian papers. I would be ready to try any new system that gave me real facts and honest reporting.
Thanks for the book and the TV coverage. More power to you...hang in there!

Commenter: Alex J
I'm all for a public news service, as long as there are protections that don't keep such a service beholden to government whims. And I DON'T mean just funneling money to a hybrid broadcasting system that runs what seem like pledge season informercials, and accepts corporate sponsorship with accolades to benefactors (AKA advertising). Maybe something like the BBC would be a start.

Commenter: Tom Pettit
We need good journalism like that presented on NOW! I hope that funding and support will keep the show on the air as we continue to struggle with the challenges of democracy.

Commenter: Sandra Holt
As I watched your program about the dying newspapers, I couldn't help think about NOW going off the air. We are devestated to see you go and are very concerned about what might fill your slot.
We'll probably storm the local studio if the Bush folks programs fill your spot.

Given a choice, we would have only pbs programs from the entire country through cable.

How can we find out the amount of money needed to produce a show like NOW?

Will you announce the reason why the show is going off the air?

Commenter: Ruth Ann Barrett
I think the survey question frames this issue inappropriately given the importance of a free press to our democracy. Rather, I would suggest discussion of how the press, distribution channel neutral,is to be funded in an economic model more appropriate to the values of a democracy e.g. prosperity as a measurement vs. profitability. It is not a bailout, but an initiative in the large, and extremely complex system involving all segments of the economy, not just government, nor Corporations. Framing the question so as not to fragment and cause individuals to run for the corners is what we need right now. I look to PBS for this, not to become more fox-like.

Commenter: Michael Villacres
The Press should be funded to prevent their extinction but no the American -blame-athon, put an expert on, burn the government for not protecting Americans and then broadcast a CIA Agent's identity or national security secrets and call it "news", hypocritical BS information display a knockoff of REAL journalism. The US Constitution states in the First Amendment, the right to have a free press; no where does it state protect the corporate media giants that lie, cheat, and show the video of an insane murderer with tax payer money. If we bail them out then the media outlets should not leak government secrets just as the "reporters" do not leak their corporation's secrets. Thank you.

Commenter: Thomas Martin
no the government should not bail out the news media. the problem with govt is spending without limits and your institution survives on its own in a free market system. you failed to mention that the labor unions are destroying the news paper businesses. but if you tried you would not have aired your show because the labor unions control your system and they are not going to allow anything critical of them on the air. and the govt is not going to regulate labor unions because the labor board is already a corrupt agency. so america goes down the drain until someone developes integrity and stands up to the status quo that is so tied up in itself it cannt see the forest thru the trees. and as for the free market system it is so pitiful defunt it needs to be redeveloped. maybe you could get a govt agency to do that for your profession. it is as close as a bail out you can get.

Commenter: Larz Neilson
I have two problems with the proposal for public funding. 1. I doubt that it would pass. 2. Is it an appropriate use for money taken under the duress of taxation?

I certainly agree with the premise that a healthy democracy needs good journalism. And maybe public funding is the way to go. But I feel that the path to that end would be very rough.

I'm a retired weekly newspaper editor, fourth generation in the news biz. It's jaw-dropping to realize what's happening. I'm glad we sold the paper a dozen years ago. It's still running. One thing about a little weekly: You never get fat with a lot of advertising. You learn to work on a shoestring and never forget.

Commenter: Rowland Gaal
The role of journalism in a socieity is integral to that society's functioning. Knowledge is essential to decision making and good journalism can provide that knowledge. Good journalism not only reports events and the actions and thoughts of groups or individuals, but also poses the questions why and how behind those events, actions and thoughts. Editorial may provide some 'opinions' to those questions however other 'citizen jouralists' will search out the whys and hows. Like those things that are essential to 'life', profit should not be associated with the provision of the products of journalism. I have often considred radio and video journalism candidates for federal subsidy, but until this program had not considered print journalsim. Funny how we so often exhibit such 'tunnel vision'. As a middle school teacher I have seen a continual decline in the asking of the questions why and how when viewing the 'events' of the day. Journalism translates to most people as 'news' what has happened, not why it has happened, nor asking what is at the root of what has happened. I hope the ideas of your broadcast today gain real traction. My blog is at:

Commenter: Dave Friend
In my observations, most Americans do not care to intiate nor practice how true Democracy should work. Political discussion should be avoided like religion. There is no argument of politicians receiving lobyists funds and then voting WITH that conflict of interest. There is no question of the news when presented by their favorite news forum. There is no question of 'truth in reporting' or of political ads. There is no outrage in the cost of elections. (In Calif. in the last initiative for limiting campaign donations, less than 15% of electorate voted FOR).

Without true investigative journalism that usually newsprint has afforded, there is no truthful window for democratic decisions to be made. I agree that open journalism should be a federal expense to protect a real democracy.

Commenter: Margo Cassidy
The current government trend of bailing out failing businesses shoudl not be extended to yet another, journalism. The newspaper business, is just htat, a business. THe fact that newspapers are losing readership is an indication that the paper does not offer the reader what they want. There are many factors at play here but the bottom line is subsidizing a failing business extends its life span after its relevance has died. THe desire for good journalism should arise from the public's interest through subscription and not through their tax dollars.

Commenter: Larry Cates
I agree very strong with the American Constitutional principle of an educated and informed citizenary as the foundation of American Democracy.
I am amazed when I discuss National and State public policy as to how ill-informed my fellow citizens are.
When I introduce facts and statistics into the discussion with my friends, neighbors and co-workers they seem dumb-founded and at a loss to intelligently debate public policy. They respond with; "I heard" and not say where they heard 'it' from. I firmly this situation is a failure of responsible citizenship. Without a vibrate and easily accessed source of 'just the facts' please information, American Democracy is seriously threatened. Most people / citizens are failing to 'govern' as we citizens are responsible to do in order for Our Democracy to work as Our Forefathers believed.

Commenter: Rob Ferguson
I pose a equally important question, who will line up for this bail out. Does anyone want their tax dollars to fund Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck? If you say they wouldn't get the funding, then it appears we now have censorship.

Commenter: Elaine Cimino
When it rains it pours, it appears that moral accountability is the problem. It is a systemic problem from the banking industry bailout which caused the collapse of millions of jobs across the country with the only entity that can hold people and industry accountable, Congress, being bought lock ,stock and barrel.

There was an article in the sunday NYT about how the new jobs are really part-time work with no benefits and people are sucking it up and taking them to have something. The problem is that this is how the markets are moulding our society and it will not change until the people stand up and ask for accountability.

We should to get out our pitchforks and go to Congress. WE need to replace the status quo and hold Obama accountable too.

It's Journalism that helps to even the playing field educating the citizenry about facts and perspective by asking the hard questions and reporting their answers.

We are trying to keep a local off shoot running called the Trial ballon in Albuquerque NM a nonprofit newspaper setting the story straight in the local community. We are struggling every month to print one 12 pager. Subsidies would be welcomed.

Commenter: karen benson
Terrific interview. I applaud David B and both of the authors, One of the best interviews yet.

I will be finding their book. I have been worried, as I understand the need for solid information on which to make thoughtful choices, and I have been disturbed by the "punditry" that they explain and critique so well.

This is a very important issue. Please keep it in our collective consciousness

Commenter: sslyon
What an inspiring idea -and snow! McChesney and Nichols hit the nail on the head and deserve a medal for getting this most critically important issue major time on a respected network. I hope there is an energetic followup by PBS and other media. This deserves a real firestorm of public illumination and debate.

Commenter: Michael McCoy
Any sensible, meaningful examination of American journalism shows, (even to an average eighth grader that is paying attention), that the information presented to the public is being approved by either government or corporate controllers -- and with cancerous, legalized bribery infecting the marbled halls of our nation's capitol, the line between them is increasingly blurry.
The vast majority of US media is privately owned with no financial support from government - yet the owners of this massive media machinery are firmly in bed with the government officials and institutions that they would be expected to scrutinize. With massive media consolidations, media owners have joined the ranks of the ruling elite. This is a long-sought strategy designed to make the US mainstream media the propoganda arm of the cleverly disguised oligarchy/corporatocracy -- with stellar success.
The editorial slant applied to a vast array of national and international matters is subject to approval by corporate advertisers and opinion makers -- with entertainment selling at a far higher rate than hard issues or unsettling truths. Among the remarkable benefits of free-market capitalism, this is not one of them.
The American democratic experiment is facing serious threats as the marriage between government/corporations and the mainstream media seems more and more business as usual. In fact, going back seems impossible -- by what force would this happen?
Americans, in overwheming numbers, continue to trust what their government officials and institutions tells them -- even with a staggering array of reasons and examples that they should not. We are told what we are to believe and how we are to feel by our self-appointed, cleverly disguised masters that hide in the shadows -- as long as we have their spectator sporting events, blockbuster movies, TV shows and celebrity gossip.
One is reminded of the pomp and magnificence of the coliseum games in ancient Rome -- while the Roman empire gradually fell apart.
This is, of course, if the hoi polloi is not distracted and occupied enough in keeping the bills paid, keeping food on the table and trying to make a better future for their children.
Add to this the remarably short memory of the American public at large and the realities of herd-mentality and group think, and our overlords have fertile grounds in which to raise their writhing crops.
From the earliest age, we Americans have been indoctrinated with a rabid nationalistic pride -- a near superstitious reverence for our "great democracy". That the checks and balances insure equalibrium and fairness -- that the Great Ship America will somehow right itself if it should go astray.
But to this writer, it has become stunningly apparent that clever, underhanded groups of like-minded, determined and powerful people are able to hijack the system in pursuit of pernicious and self-serving agendas.
Agendas that are quite contrary to what is good for our once great country and the American People that ostensibly own it.
In fact, by any sensible measure, with election fraud repeatedly running rampant at the highest levels of the American political machinery and with the unabashed subservience of our "elected officials" to their, (our), corporate masters, the US congress and the presidency have become the central acts in the grandest, most elaborate staged puppet show in human history.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." ~ The Wizard of Qz
"...we've given you a republic, now let's hope that you can keep it..." (paraphrased), Benjamin Franklin, upon leaving the Continental Congress
The stakes could not be higher, and the groups of people that have seized the genuine levers of power are the most serious personages imaginable. They are well-organized, focused and fully understand mass psychology -- managing the American public essentially as the bewildered herd.
Demand election integrity - abolish the illusions manufactured by electronic voting machines, (fraud and manipulation). Demand public election finance and lobbying reform for the US Congress, (legalized bribery). Be the one to bring it up, provoke public discourse, shout it from the rooftops if necessary.
Your country is being stolen.
Michael McCoy

Commenter: John Wes Short
Long time viewer, first time commenter. I just watched this week's episode about Saving American Journalism. As always, impeccable work by the NOW staff. David effectively communicated the voice of we "pre-selectors" of public media, and I would like to thank him, especially for that moniker.

So... the gentlemen interviewed would like us to spend more public money to subsidize and circulate an archaic, economically inviable, and environmentally unresponsive medium? Is that the about right?

Tell you what. Get together some people that can muster about 1/10th of the proposed revenue needed to create the life-support system for the dying medium, and give it to me. Why? Because I will bring you a revolution of local news media that we rebirth the industry.

I had the idea a few weeks ago and am talking to friends, but am a financially poor ex-military member, current student. So, I don't control even a portion of the influence needed to help such a large industry. But, this comment really isn't about me. It's about the leagues of innovators in this country and indeed, in the world at large. Thank you, sincerely, for not discounting them.

Forever, your dedicated viewer.


Commenter: Sandra McGowan
I was fascinated by the discussion presented, and frightened as well. I do fear a loss of journalism, but have not heard "real" journalists discuss this topic in such a clear way before. The history of the beginning of journalism in this country is very interesting and the comments made about how journalism is subsidized in other democratic countries was enlightening. We are a young country and have much to learn from others. We can still be creative in how we approach solutions, but to learn from others and to know our real history is critical for the process to move forward intelligently. I am particularly tired of listening to other people's opinions as an excuse for real facts and real reportage of the facts. Capitalism is good to a point, but the high costs in health care can be compared to the demise of journalism. Both are a result of capitalism being more important than concern for the health of our society and the honest education of our people.

Commenter: Jack Maloney
Newspaper journalism has been dying for years, and deservedly so. Digital media are to newspapers what the Gutenberg press was to monastic scriptoria. Today, digital media are prying open secretive governments from Tienanmen Square to Tehran, and will continue to do so unless suppressed by tyrants. Yes, the blogosphere is wild and irresponsible - so was the vaunted journalism of the Founding Fathers' day. Freedom is not an orderly thing. But I trust the people more than I trust the government.

Commenter: Kathleen E Lo Pinto Vignolini
Yes, we need to have timely investigative Journalism to keep the politicians & corporate America honest & aware of the real needs of the people, rather than the special interest lobbyists.
The problem with Government supplementing journalists is, that most (too many) Americans listen to special interest pundits who spout a skewed ideology, rather than searching out several sources to find the truth (usually somewhere in between the two sides).
Then people blame government for all their ills, rather than their own lack of initiative to find out what the full story is.
These are the same folks who vote on one or two issues without benefit of the facts. Then too, too few actually vote, believing that it doesn't matter who's in office, they won't really change anything. People think everyone in Government is corrupt, because Gov't rarely "polices" it's members.
Americans tend to vote for the same people, despite their record, because we like our own representatives. it's "that other guy, who should be voted out!" Sadly, we can't change human nature.

Commenter: Erik Roth
Your program on American journalism was brilliant, and much needed in the corporate media wasteland of junk food that we the people are being fed these days. But regrettably, you sabotage results in your poll question regarding governmental funding of journalism by calling that a "bailout." Public financing of that is no more a "bailout" than funding public schools, or anything in the public realm for the public good. Please rectify this.

Commenter: Rick F
WOW! Watching this show makes me ill.

A few comments;
-10 years from now - we'll be calling the coming decade the birth of true free press, not the death of it. All the studies mentioned saying the internet provides no new news - I'd like to see how that research was conducted... It would be easy to skew if you were pro-newspaper.

-The speakers say the government needs to subsidize the press to support democracy - how can these people make that statement aloud and not hear how crazy that sounds. Government run news papers are not beckons of freedom.

-People don't care. They don't care about what the press says they should think is important compared to the other news options they have. Subsidizing newspapers won't change that. People have the ability to get the type of news they care about when they want it on the net. Long story short, news papers can't compete and they should... NEED TO fail or do something that makes them more relevant.

-How did both of these over educated guys forget that newspapers are not fundamentally about providing unbiased news - their mission is to sell as much advertising as possible. They are toting newspaper organizations as being information saints - that's simply not true. My opinion is that the press does as much harm as it does good in directing people toward understanding the truth about politics.

The fundamental issue is that the failing newspapers are leaving an gap in the information that has not been completely filled by the internet (I agree - this is a problem)... YET

It will. We need to let nature take its course and if we do - free press will be reborn stronger in the 21st century.

Commenter: richard bystrak
I find this riddiculous ... saving american journalism! I almost put my foot through the tv when I watch what is going on with so called journalism today. Let me tell you what I thought was the best news in town. In the late 50's there was a man called Roger Grimsby. He appeared nightly, sat by himself at a little office desk, came on about 6 pm and was on for about 15 minutes. 'I'm Roger Grimsby, here now the news' was his introduction. All I needed was to listen to Roger for about 15 minutes and I had the essentials. What do you call jouralism? Do you call Shawn Insanity jouranlism? Do you call O'Rielly of the 'spin zone' jounalism? That is trash, the most often terms they use are, 'what do you think', 'what if, what if', 'what do you think will happen if this happens' etc. etc. TRASH and we all can do without this wasting of money on over glorified,over paid entertainers sponsered by the US Government and my tax dollars. I have no fear of losing my freedom if jounalism is not supported by tax dollars. I fear losing my freedom to a lot of religious zealots who are determined to raise a crucifix on top of the capitol building. Have a nice day. Lovingly, R. Bystrak PP_IISIFI, New York

Commenter: Harold Saive
Here's why corporate news is going bankrupt: Corporate News does not report topics that are deemed taboo by the corporatist news supporters in a network of consolidated ownership by the the bretheren. Even PBS avoids any discussion that disagrees with the Bush (and Obama) administration's story of the events of 9/11, even while the 9/11 Truth movement has grown to be a global political movement backed by incontravertible evidence that explosives were planted in the Twin Towers and WTC-7. Not even Amy Goodman will have an architect or physicist on her show to reveal the nature of the military grade explosives found in the dust around the Twin Towers and WTC-7....and to show how NIST violated the scientific method to produce a manipulated report that was acceptable to the Bush Whitehouse. When the News fails to report the truth, they deserve to go bankrupt and the people deserve a new government. I'm surprised that the show went an entire 30 minutes without anyone asking if readers thought there was important news that was not getting reported. How could anyone not ask that question and pretend to explore the issue?

Commenter: james
A $200 voucher sounds great! It should be issued to support the Second amendment as the founding fathers intended it. I love the arguement these guys made! How to fund it? Well, same as what these guys said, this is the price of a free society! This should not be on the cheap! The right to self defense is the substance of a democracy. Let's pull the brake! We've not had serious consideration of the importance of self defense!

Commenter: Jane Doe
The goal of the people in control of this country (not the president), is to promote the new world order and world globilization. The people have spoken by not buying newspapers. Why buy propaganda? And since we won't buy the paper, you want to force us to pay, by making the government bail you out and supersubsidize the paper? Where does that gov money come from? The tax payer! Every news program I've watched this week from professionals are programs that will require more experts with more credentials to run things, gee, they cost more money, so they're going to raise the price of there service they offer, to whom? the littleman taxpayer. From the common income worker's prospective, it is easy to see the plan. Turn this country into India. A cast system of the very rich and the very poor.

Commenter: Charles Michael Couch
The demise of the so called mass media news as of the last ten years at least would be a boon for Democracy and freedom in America. Right now the CIA co-opt sham called the press is a huge part of the problem, not the solution.

Something tells me a press that asks the right question first will arise from the ashes and be supported by the people directly because they deserve it. The "press" we now have is so slack it won't even ask,"Was 9/11 an inside job?", "Was 9/11 and the Afghan invasion for the Trans Afghan Pipeline", "Does our Government belong to the Illuminati Oiligarch Banksters, not us?"

Good riddance.

Charles Michael Couch

Commenter: Debra A.
Your choice of wording for the Weekly Q, "Should journalism be next in line for a government bailout?" nudges the responder to answer in the negative. A bailout is not what the program recommended. A bailout means giving money to existing for-profit companies. The show guests suggested a not-for-profit, non-government controlled, news organization subsidized by our taxes, that is not afraid of offending big business and/or government so that we Americans can get real news.

You really ought to behave as a non-profit (although it is difficult for you, considering that most of your funding probably comes from corporations) and at least try to avoid using manipulating, sensationalist language.

Thank you.

Commenter: Robert Schroeder
I support the notion of public funding for newspaper journalism for the following reasons. By their very nature, newspapers are more "green" compared to acquiring the news via the internet. Publishing newspapers provides jobs and promotes real journalism as compared to "amateur" journalism such as blogs. A reasonable per capita tax wouldn't constitute that much of a burden on the taxpayers given the public good the print media provide.

Commenter: Preben Ramfeldt
Growing up in Denmark, and living half of my adult life overseas., what I have been missing most in America is informativ worldwide and local new. I am lucky that I am able to read the Scandinavian,German, Bitish and france papers on line go get an overall picture of what is going on in the world and hat the worl think about America, making educated conklutions about what is real and what is propaganda. I do feel sorry for the averages american who do not read or speak a foriegn languas, and have to be stock with what he/she gets from the networks, which has nothing to do with new.
Like you program.

Commenter: Bob Heberle
More public support for Moyers and NOW

Commenter: Leon
That was the most incredibly stupid show I have ever seen. Local public broadcast shows are held to a higher standard than that trash. Are you serious? That was insanely ironic to be having a QUOTE, UNQUOTE "news report" about journalism when it was nothing short of sheer retarded.

Commenter: Paul
Watching this show, I wished they had presented two sides. What you have instead is David lobbing softballs at a couple of authors promoting their views and their book.

Not sure I trust this kind of reporting; ironic, no?

Commenter: Pat Uper
I'm sorry your guests aren't able to keep up with the pace of change. The internet is by far more diverse than their one sided papers. The media revolution has already begun, they are just able to keep up with it.

Commenter: Pat Uper
Don't your guests believe the liberal bias of the newpapers has led to their demise? Why should I pay my tax dollars to hear more of their socialist propaganda?

Commenter: Fred Slocombe
I don't think we need to sustain the type of journalism that allowed us to go to war in Iraq. Just say no to Gatekeepers and Sacred Cows. Shake free the mortal coil of the "Press."

Commenter: Yellowbird
People in America are simply TOO BROKE to buy periodicals anymore. We are in a Depression, not a "recession". It's a choice between a newspaper subscription versus milk for the kids. Guess who wins?

Instead of continuing the bailout of BUSINESS, why don't you listen to Bill Moyers and learn how an economy is built from the GROUND UP. If ANYONE needs a bailout, it's America's WORKERS.

WE are the ones who built the nation. Free Trade and the destruction of the long hard fought controls on the economy have destroyed the nation. It's time to oust republicans forever and build a nation that can stand the tide of time.

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