Monday, December 01, 2008

Public Press

Liberals argue that we need public schools because an educated electorate is necessary to democracy. My favorite argument is that democracy also requires an informed electorate, but we don’t let the governments run the newspapers. That always used to shut them up.

Guess I’ll have to find a new argument…

Seven legislators from the area served by The Bristol Press and The Herald in New Britain today wrote to the state Department of Economic and Community Development to ask for its help in preventing the closure of the newspapers.
This is a stirling example of why pointing out contradictions is a dangerous rhetorical device. He who lives by the reductio dies by the absurdam.

This is, of course, a small example an will probably turn out to be harmless. But this quote from the original letter is depressing:
Also, for much of the same reasons that we press for campaign finance reform and other important ethics legislation, having a locally-based newspaper is important for public accountability. As elected officials, ourselves, we want to public to have access to independent news about what is going on in government and our communities. We share the sentiments of our nation's leaders who wrote the Bill of Rights that a free press is an essential part of democracy.
This only avoids being orwellian by virtue of the fact that it is so shockingly obtuse. The idea that government subsidy provides independence doesn't pass the laugh test, though I suppose that is the point of the reference to campaign finance laws. Hmm, on second thought maybe it is orwellian after all.

(Food Chain: Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, Bristol Today)


Steve Collins said...

Just to make it clear: Nobody is asking the state of Connecticut to bail out the newspapers. What's asked is merely that the state lend its considerable resources to helping match a new owner with an ailing seller so that the papers survive.

Jack said...

Steve: That is encouraging, if true, but the letter requesting aid is pretty open-ended.