Sep 8, 2022Liked by Matt Stoller

My little town actually has two newspapers. One, purchased ultimately by Gannett/USA Today after a series of buyouts by other publishers over the past 20 or so years, is a rag. USA Today claptrap with very little local news. It is published on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. (It used to be Monday-Saturday with no paper on Sunday and Monday, but a couple of months ago excitedly announced the new Sunday edition - which is no different than any other issue - and dropped the Saturday and Tuesday editions.) Recently, another paper started up, published by a woman who used to work for Gannett. I truly is a local NEWSpaper, with police beat, real estate transactions, obituaries, local news items, etc. Basically what you used to read in a local paper. That is Monday and Wednesday digital paper with a physical edition delivered via U.S. Mail on Friday. It's reached the point where I don't really read the Gannett paper any more. (I would drop my subscription but for some reason it has been delivered to me for free for the past few years and they don't have a record of me as a subscriber so I can't cancel my subscription.) The woman who publishes the small local told me that a number of towns nearby have gone to the same model she uses - lots of local news, local ads, fairly reasonable subscription rates. I believe that if what we used to call "newspapers" are going to survive, that is the form they will take. I'm an old codger who, at one time in my life, used to read 5 newspapers a day. If someone had told me 40 years ago that there would come a day when I would not care about newspapers, I would have told them they were crazy.

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Losing Facebook sounds like a huge win by itself.

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I stopped reading my computer mag a couple of years ago because there usually was only one interesting article. The rest was "hard disk maker xyz increases capacity from x to y". I stopped reading the local news just before Covid. We got the mother the newspaper occasionally. But the content was always always the same.

I read the German Mirror (Spiegel online) each day. The articles there are usually not very well researched. At least I'm entertained.

News has been destroying itself in the last decades. Information gets more shallow by the year - just read anything on Covid. Do you really think that this is fixable by throwing money at newspapers?

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For over twenty years I have watched this 'drama' unfold from a tiny corner of the stage occupied by small scale innovators who did not aspire to world dominance. Both the old school information business and the new tech driven one care(d) more about their business models than their actual value prodution. They are all corporations, not actual human beings, and are driven by souless greed. (I have no sympathy for either side.) Since information is critical to both markets and the political arena, the ability to control it is the 'holy grail' of corporations and totalitarian governments. That ability is now based on the idea of intellectual property that is as outmoded as our 200 year old constitution. Real copyright reform that undoes much of the DMCA would be the best way to insure that information was gathered and distributed in ways that served the common good. The current bill is a dirty band aid on an infected wound. It will only perpetuate the power of big tech and big news.

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Sep 8, 2022·edited Sep 8, 2022

Thanks for that important and informative article. I find the topic extremely important. A free press is a pillar of democracy, just as important as a fair and impartial justice system or more important. The justice system is so important that it must be run by the government and a huge effort is spent to ensure it remains fair and impartial. Meanwhile the press is owned and run by corrupt billionaires and effectively regulated by Google, a mysterious and evil multinational corporation. And the press is not free and so that pillar of democracy is completely busted. If people wonder why democracy is on shakey ground, that is why.

I think it’s appropriate for the justice system to be run by the government (instead of a company like Google for example) but for some reason I can’t explain, it would scare the hell out of me to have the government in charge of the press. I think it has to do with free speech - the government must have no control over free speech whatsoever and the free press is the most important creator of free speech. The free market must run the free press, not the state and not a monopoly. The free press did an excellent job before Google came along.

If the proposed legislation has been shown to work in Australia it should be enacted everywhere ASAP but ultimately the long term solution is to break up Google. They took over and destroyed the free press and if their power is not checked they’ll take over the legal system too and the government itself. That’s what power and money does - Google can get whatever legislation it wants - it has enough spare change to make every politician and judge in America a multimillionaire overnight. The only restraint on Google right now is Google itself and that’s a disaster waiting to happen.

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There is also one more side to this Matt. There is the side that addresses local/regional newspapers and WHAT is being advertised. An important part of local newspapers was informing their readers of consumer opportunities in their local market place … advertising local shops, goods, services, etc. But, of course, that meant running local advertising departments in each paper and constantly soliciting advertising business, a necessary but burdensome task. So, when newspapers were presented with an opportunity to outsource that activity they agreed to let someone else do the ad work even if doing so was a disservice to their own customer base and even though it netted less revenue and even if it meant losing control over their intellectual property and even if it meant dancing with the devil. Even they, the local newspapers, could not evaluate their own strategic self interest.

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Matt, yes these left type groups love Facebook, Google, Apple, all of the big techies because they are all very left leaning so they will back them and support them to the hilt. If this new ruling goes thru they will allow the other thought processes to be able to have their say in the mainstream media.

The media in this country is controlled by a few big players and most of that is left leaning or woke type groups. They won't give this up easily. Don't think this will make it thru. They have too much power and control over the politics of the day.

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Hi @Matt, thanks for this thought-provoking piece! Instead of the JCPA, could a large fund/counter-monopolist "simply" buy up all the remaining newspapers in America, and then have enough negotiating power by threatening to withdraw *all* their content from Google News?

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Thank you Matt and for posting an inside piece.

There is no mistaking that all of this is change the format of "NEWS'. I arrived what is news nowadays. It`s turn to opinion and guiding one's opinion onto they`re audience, at best. Not just listing to facts to politics pros and cons anymore, or to let the audience just draw their own conclusion.

Thus the audience may be from lack of cognitive thinking has allowed themselves to be bullring to be placed within the nose-in-order to be lead.

The importance of data, and collective of said which. On multiple levels. It is a MAJOR ISSUE.

I have a question those in Congress if are even up to page what could come upon us. As to data collected, could you create a program NOT physically but psychologically influence in directing people?

Little off topic, or is it? Aspects

We got to start looking ahead to where technology is going and or media.

Crying wolf ISNT freedom. Rush Limbaugh back in the late 90s was called out on Telling Non-truths. Airing out lie as facts, he admitted it then. Stating "Well I'm not a news outlet, I'm an entertainer"

and he gets awarded the highest honor for citizen, "The freedom medal" for that!

I don't care what politics you have or follow. I would hope you would stand with country first versus party. We got to start thinking ahead what all this is leading too.

Small town or county newspapers going down is not going to be healthy that community. I believe they call it "Fate Face" it's already out there and they're predicting 4-5 years. Anybody in their home with 2 computers will be able to mimic anybody. Misleading people going down rabbit holes following false prophets. It is just starting, and well divide us more.

If we dont get ahead of it.

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Why bother to save newspapers? They've always been evil.

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I don't get it. Matt says "But unlike in any other period in American history, publishers can’t manage to sell ads. And if they can’t sell ads, they can’t finance a diverse set of independent publishing outlets."


But this does frustrate me... "Thus, we see the horseshoe of libertarians and pro-big tech progressives coming together for centralized control over speech, using different language."

100%. Which is why while I'm a libertarian-leaning, Austrian-type, that philosophy isa pipe dream

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Matt - here's a good rundown, naming names on pro/con side of the issue


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