Ezra uses yesterday's WaPo controversy to advocate for publicly funded news:
We have public universities and public centers for disease research and public firefighting departments and a public military and public roads. Why should news be different? You can argue that it must be oppositional to government, of course, and so government funding is a conflict of interest. But many European countries have solved that problem by developing automatic funding structures free of government influence. Meanwhile, it's not as if NPR or the BBC seem particularly concerned about criticizing their respective governments (nor, for that matter, do professors at public universities seem particularly cowed). And those funding mechanisms can, at the least, be transparent, predictable, and partial, which would be better than newspapers quietly trying a thousand things, many of them far from the public eye.
Ugh. Like the government is more disinterested than lobbyists. Matt Steinglass is also pessimistic about the future of news:
I’m not sure there’s a single other English-language news outlet, certainly not in the US, that’s definitely going to exist in 5 or 10 years. Increasingly, what we think of as “news” today is going to be produced by public relations companies, advocacy organizations, think tanks, and political parties, trying to get their messages out. There will be fewer and fewer impartial news organizations that make money simply by getting people to pay attention to important or juicy news stories. This is a loss for the American public, as Megan says, and it’s really not clear how to overcome it.
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