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Democrat Senators Push for Local Journalism Bailout as Part of Coronavirus Relief

Democrat Senators Push for Local Journalism Bailout as Part of Coronavirus Relief

The country is at a standstill. Ad revenue is drying up. Local media outlets, already struggling, are suffering as a result.

Nineteen Democrat Senators are pushing for a bailout of “local journalism and media” in any upcoming Coronavirus relief legislation.

In a letter addressed to Senate leadership, they urged, “any future stimulus package must contain funding to support this important industry at such a critical time. Such a provision should be tailored to benefit aid recipients who make a long-term commitment to high quality local news.” (Full letter embedded at bottom of post.)

WRIC reports:

Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine joined colleagues in a letter calling for funding to support local journalism and media to be included in any future COVID-19 relief packages.

“The current public health crisis has made the already vital role of local news even more critical,” wrote the senators.

The senators warn that the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes impacts advertising funds and profits, could destroy regional and local news outlets. This is happening even as communities have become increasingly reliant on their news reporting during the public health crisis.

“Local news is in a state of crisis that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senators wrote. “For over a decade, there has been a steady succession of local outlets closing down, reporters being laid off, production schedules cut, and resources tightened as the growth of social media and technology platforms has concentrated critical advertising revenue in the hands of a few. But the current public health crisis has made this problem worse. As many communities have shut down local restaurants, entertainment venues, and other non-essential businesses in an attempt to “flatten the curve,” local papers and local broadcasters have lost even more of the advertising revenue they rely on from these businesses. Communities across the country have seen the further decimation of this important industry as local publications have stopped printing and laid off staff in the last few weeks.

Many Virginia newspapers have implemented pay staff cuts and furloughed staff to deal with the financial impact of the spread of the coronavirus.

Lee Enterprises Inc., which owns several major papers across the state such as the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Daily Progress in Charlottesville, said employees will have to take a pay cut or furlough equivalent of two weeks pay.

Gannett Co. Inc., which also owns several Virginia papers including the News Leader in Staunton, announced employees who make more than $38,000 a year must take a week of leave on a rotating basis.

“Local journalists have proven themselves to be valiant first responders during this pandemic, exposing themselves to a dangerous virus in order to get the story to the people,” said PEN America’s Washington director, Thomas O. Melia. “They are ‘essential workers’ as many executive orders on staying at home at the state and local level have explicitly noted. The sector as a whole is suffering gravely as the nationwide shutdown has accelerated their loss of revenue. This is why we at PEN America support Senator Blumenthal’s initiative to urge Senate leaders to include specific targeted stimulus relief for local journalism at this critical time.”

Last month, Professor Jacobson blogged about the coming media carnage. Having a penchant for seeing these types of things in advance, he wrote:

Given the pervasive distrust of media, particularly national mainstream media, news that the Wuhan coronavirus crisis is hitting news media hard may not garner a lot of sympathy. But the hardest hit is at the local level, not the names you know and love/hate.

Don’t cheer this pain. It will empower the largest corporate behemoths, the heart of the mainstream media, who are the most likely to survive and to take even more market share. The same goes for those with billionaire bankrollers, like the far-left The Intercept.

At Legal InsurrectionFoundation and website, we’re going to have to navigate this environment a little differently. We already run such a lean shop on such a frugal budget. We never lived big.

We are at risk, as are all non-profits, of a decline in donations as a result of the stock market decline and readers worried about or losing their jobs. It’s a little too early to tell how we will be impacted, but we did postpone what would have been a First Anniversary Fundraiser early this month as the timing coincided with the stock market crash. At some point when things calm down, we’ll reach out to readers, who have come through for us bigly in the past.

While our travel plans are on hold, we’re continuing to research behind the scenes, and I’m hopeful we’ll continue to push the envelope as we also cover the crazy news scene. We’re also looking into ways to bring us together with readers “virtually.”

But for now, we’re just doing what we do, watching the media carnage from afar. But we take no joy in the misfortunes of others, whether ‘journalists’ or actual working folk, losing their jobs.

Full Democrat letter here:


COVID-19 Local Journalism Bailout Request by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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Given that the bulk of the so-called media is either incompetent or under the control of “enemies foreign and domestic”, as far as I am concerned it can all go hang. I haven’t paid much if any attention to it for almost twenty years anyway. I get all my news from online sources, such as L.I.

The media have made their own beds. They have pushed panic, fake apocalyptic forecasts, anti-American propaganda and a communist agenda for decades. Let them stew in their own juices. Their subscriptions have tanked. Now, their anti-capitalist rhetoric has destroyed their advertising base. So sad…too bad.

Why not just have the DNC pay them. They are already working for them.

Not a dime for these filthy crap-weasels. They are not journalists, they are political activists masquerading as journalists. It has become quite obvious that they have learned to follow Mark Twain’s dictum…

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

No pay…no play. Journalism street walks with the Dems.




Locally owned newspapers and tv stations are eligible for the SBA assistance in the Paycheck Protection legislation. I don’t understand what makes them more virtuous or deserving of special, targeted financial assistance.

Frankly, keeping these media outfits on the same plane with every other small businesses will help put an end to the resistance of moving forward in a phased reopening of the nation. Give them a special bailout and the pressure is off. If local businesses are not advertising it’s because they are closed. Allow them to reopen and the advertising revenue will return.

    rocky71 in reply to CommoChief. | April 9, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Exactly- if they’re truly local there’s little doubt they’d be eligible for the current provisions for small business. If they don’t they’re not terribly ‘local’. Besides, according to Warner and Kaine this has been an issue since the dawn of the Anointed One’s administration- can’t have much to do with the current ChiComms’ Revenge if that’s the case. Pound sand.

    4fun in reply to CommoChief. | April 9, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    My local paper doesn’t deserve anything more than a list of schools that teach coding.
    The group that owns the liberal Detroit free press bought it out. I haven’t bothered with craptastic garbage since. Which is over 15 years or more.
    County voted 56% repub. For years the dems didn’t even bother putting in an office in our county.

Albigensian | April 9, 2020 at 5:37 pm

Is it necessary to say that a free press cannot be dependent on government handouts? Because inevitably some will be subsidized and some will not, and among the subsidized some will get more and others less.

And who would trust anyone to decide just which local journalism/media outlets will what?

Perhaps these journalists and media should consider tip jars? For if readers don’t care enough to pay, why should taxpayers be forced to pay?

Freedom of the press, to me, means freedom of the press to fail. What would libs say if we wanted a bailout for Legal Insurrection, Breitbart, or other conservative sites?

I say we take a page from Obama’s playbook and cone the media.

Learn to code, journalists.

The Friendly Grizzly | April 9, 2020 at 6:04 pm

No money for the media. Absolutely not. It seems to me, there were plenty of successful media outlets in the past. If they can’t make it now, that’s the breaks. That’s called the free market.

As for this nonsense about loans and protections for minority owned businesses, let me ask this: is it not about time that these minorities still on the road? I thought we were all supposed to be equal? Affirmative action should be killed off. This includes job preferences, and minority preferences. Stand on your own, or sink. I really think we’re beyond the era where if somebody sees a minority owned business, they will dismiss them out of hand.

I see DaNang Dick Blumenthal is part of this. Why is he in the Senate after being caught lying about his military service? Plenty of impostors have been prosecuted for stolen valor; why not this clown?

The government slammed shut sole proprietors in early/mid march, yet their UI package can only be back dated to 3/29. Also it will be 3 weeks before they even start looking at the SBA grants.

Also – regular W2 workers are getting a fat EXTRA 600 per week on top of the State benefits….WHY???? Sole proprietors get to suck dirt- while eating their expenses till God knows when.

So media, go fuck yourselves.

    Andy in reply to Andy. | April 9, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    oh- in Wa, sole proprietors can’t even apply federal UI benefits for another week (at least). Who knows how long it will take for them to start paying on that OR what hooks they will have in there as to whether you qualify OR they ask for the money back later.

No no a thousand times no

There is no way to stop the Ca legislature and gov from supporting their propaganda agents, ie the news media.

Dantzig93101 | April 9, 2020 at 6:42 pm

If Mark Warner and Tim Kaine want it, then that’s prima facie evidence it’s an absolutely terrible idea.

So they can spread the social contagion.

She shall be remembered for the content of her character. Pandering government employee has brought nothing of value or usefulness in the fullness of her public life.

This pretty well defines a conflict of interest.

IndependentDem | April 9, 2020 at 9:23 pm

I grew up in a newspaper home, 7 day/week home delivery. We all read it every day, my parents and all 5 of the kids. I still love real newspapers, and throughout a career overseas still read local papers wherever I have lived. But, I retire in 1.5 years and will return home to the U.S. (NC), and will I read the locals rags there? No, they are all leftist gossip rags. The Durham Herald-Sun of my childhood is unreadable, a quarter the size, and now charges about $700/year for the full home delivery my parents paid for. The Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), the local paper where I will retire to, is only slightly less, but just as strongly a propaganda voice for the DNC. They are dead to me, and can fail for all I care. So what to do?

Here’s my recommendation, from a lover of newspapers and real journalism: take some of the money I (or you) would spend on a traditional local paper and divide it up as donations to my (your) favorite conservative blogs who are providing real “news I can use.” For me that is LI and Powerline, principally. It helps keep afloat news sources I trust, and adheres to the valuable principle of not expecting to get another’s labor for free.

Comanche Voter | April 9, 2020 at 9:24 pm

The Los Angeles Times is suffering. But then it hasn’t been a real or serious newspaper for more than 15 years now. It’s shrinking in size. But it is so full of anti-Trump screeds that I can read the daily paper in less than 5 minutes. (The sports section is gone).

If the paper were printed on soft paper, with no ink, it might be useful for something other than lining the bottom of the bird cage.

Why should we bail it out?

“Such a provision should be tailored to benefit aid recipients who make a long-term commitment to high quality local news.”

Well, that would be a refreshing change from the pablum we’ve been getting for several decades now.

But unfortunately, that pablum is exactly what these people think is “high quality local news”.

Clear conflict of interest. The dinosaur media is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat party. They already propped up Public Broadcasting, another Democrat house organ.

Money for the democrat media?

F**k you and moooochelle obama you rode in on.

Local media is the minor league for corrupt ‘reporters’. Let it die on the vine.

Look at what Advance Media did to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the company that bought them out years ago has been busting the union for years.
They were running a union print edition and an non union online edition, with cross over. They have been laying off the union workers for years and have eliminated almost all of the union workers now.

Subotai Bahadur | April 10, 2020 at 1:26 am

I write a column for a local conservative paper. It has been close to 8 years now and we are making it, albeit the current problems with the plague still might take us out as it takes all businesses out.

We have a paper here that has been here for over a century. About 30 years ago they were bought out first by an Austin, Texas company and later by another. From the moment they were bought, they became less interested in news than supporting the Democrats. Since our paper began, their circulation has been dropping and if it was not for being the paper of record for the County and the weekly ads, they would be gone. No subsidy for anyone.

Subotai Bahadur

healthguyfsu | April 10, 2020 at 1:27 am

No media bailout

I hate these three a-holes: Northam, Kaine, Warner…every single one needs to go, but unfortunately we are stuck with NoVA as a voting bloc.

Coronovirus is a ruse to enslave us all.

Given that both religion and press are protected by the 1st Amendment, I thought there was a “Separation of Press and State”.

Let their benefactors the DNC pay for them, the political hacks have been carrying the water for the democrats since the 1960 and went all in during the “annointed one’s administration”. They have no idea what objectivity and facts are. They use “Feelingz and opinions” to push a news story. I would say “They can learn code” since they help gut the middle class” but the indians got there first.

BierceAmbrose | April 10, 2020 at 4:05 pm

… because pushing the money through cut-outs delays the check a few days too many.

Step up citizen journalism!