From “How the Collapse of Local News Is Causing a ‘National Crisis’” (nytimes):
The loss of local news coverage in much of the United States has frayed communities and left many Americans woefully uninformed, according to a new report.
The report, “Losing the News: The Decimation of Local Journalism and the Search for Solutions,” paints a grim picture of the state of local news in every region of the country. The prelude is familiar to journalists: As print advertising revenue has plummeted, thousands of newspapers have been forced to cut costs, reduce their staffs or otherwise close.
And while the disruption has hampered the ability of newsrooms to fully cover communities, it also has damaged political and civic life in the United States, the report says, leaving many people without access to crucial information about where they live.
Who is responsible for what the New York Times calls a “national crisis”? (does this replace the “national emergency” of Trump being President or is it layered on top?) New Republic suggests that it is the New York Times itself that has killed local newspapers by wooing away their audience that had value to advertisers:
In fact, two economists studied this in 2006—at basically the peak of national newspaper ad revenue, just before the collapse—and found that “as Times circulation grows in a market, local newspaper circulation declines among college-educated readers.” In other words: The Times peeled off the elite readers from the local papers, leading them to read less about local news and more about national politics.”
Is it just that the NYT is doing a better job? What about the hysterical tone of the NYT in reporting national politics. The average American reader’s life will be turned upside down depending on who wins an election for President or Congress. Yet this is fundamentally a lie. The laws that affect the typical individual are state laws.
Consider the American who has sex with an already-married dermatologist. Will obtaining custody of the resulting child yield the spending power of a primary care physician’s salary (Massachusetts) or require going to work to supplement the roughly $200,000 in tax-free child support over 18 years (Nevada). The “lifetime of leisure” versus “lifetime of work” outcome following the sex act is entirely a function of state law, decided by state legislatures and officials. Consider what happens when the child of this brief, um, union reaches school age. What will be taught to this child, by whom, and in what kind of building? All questions of local or state law and/or local and state votes. Suppose the child becomes a teenager and is in possession of marijuana? Whether or not that is a crime and results in a prison sentence will be a question of state law (though with laws such as “Trump signs animal cruelty act into law” it is unclear why the entire criminal system isn’t federalized (animal cruelty is not related to interstate commerce or any other Constitutional provision as far as I can see)). What if, despite the dope smoking, the child is ready to go to a reasonably priced university? The funding and direction for that state-run university will be a function of state-level political decisions. The child graduates and, despite holding a degree in Cultural and Gender Studies, vies for a job at the local Starbucks. To the extent that minimum wage is above the local market-clearing wage, that will be a question of state law. After 22 years of life, it is difficult to see how the issues on which the NYT reports hysterically have had a major effect on this person.Full post, including comments