The Death of Democracy by a thousand paper cuts | WisCommunity

The Death of Democracy by a thousand paper cuts

March 19, 2018 - 2:11pm

News is essential to democracy. More and more, the news that we rely on to make daily decisions is disappearing. Oh, there's plenty of news out there, but as our president is so fond of saying, much of it is fake news. News with an agenda, news with a slant, news that is nothing but a pack of lies. News in a silo does nothing for democracy, it only serves to polarize and make it nigh impossible for people in opposing camps to even speak, much less understand each other.

Making this worse is what is happening to what we used to think of as news - the traditional mainstream media. Newspapers around the country have moved from being little family-owned businesses that generated an okay income for the families to being a commodity fund.  Papers are being bought willy-nilly by companies that see them solely as an investment, or a way to buy some cheap debt - and to hell with the consequences.

As a result, staffs at newspapers everywhere are taking a hit (yes I understand that a lot of this is that the paper business is a lot less profitable than it used to be, but the purchase of papers by companies that have no interest in running them as papers is accelerating the decline.)

Our local papers in the Chippewa Valley shrink about once a year.  Staff is removed as redundant.  The papers themselves shrink as there are fewer and fewer people to produce them.  Our bi-weekly local paper now has a staff of one - so I don't think it can be cut much more.

As a country, we are floundering for an answer to this, but the bad news keeps on coming.  See the article linked below for more info on how this is going on in Denver and Minnesota. Note the reference in the article to Matt DiRenzo and LION Publishers.  We're now a proud member of LION and many of us hope to stick our finger in the leaking dyke of journalism.  Wis.Community is doing it in  a small way, but I hope you will join us in making it bigger and broader.

If this matters to you -

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Steve Hanson
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