Press-finance-politics in Wisconsin

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In an email correspondence with Rep. Marlin Schneider, the longest serving member of the Assembly in state history reflected on the state of media in our state today:

The concentration of ownership and control over the media by giant corporations is not healthy for our democracy.  Without newspapers most communities historic records will be lost.  Things such as birth, death, marriage, divorce and daily records would no longer be available to the public because the electronic media does not as a rule cover such “mundane” activities.  Newspapers also can report more in depth on various stories than can be done in one minute spots on radio.  Television does not like to report “tedious” numbers  stories about taxes or economic trends or most anything else that does not have some sort of dramatic video.

Schneider and I came to widely different conclusions on how to respond to the crisis. I believe the rise of online independent media can serve to replace some of what was lost in the printed press – he thinks government intervention on behalf of newspapers is necessary. Hence his bill to give property tax exemptions to newspapers. I was not impressed by the result.

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