Why America’s Free Press Is Circling The Drain

After 45 years in the news business, Marty Baron had no answers for how to address the flailing state of the U.S. media.

Baron, who retired as executive editor of The Washington Post (WP) on Feb. 28, was interviewed Sunday by CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl.

He criticized former GOP President Donald J. Trump for declaring that papers like the WP report “fake news” and for calling reporters the “enemy of the people.” Baron declared that democracy will not die in darkness because of the WP.

Of course, Baron knows that Trump is not the real problem with the media today.

The real problem is that Congress has allowed six corporations to control about 90% of media outlets in United States, and most owners are multi-national corporations that have little or no commitment to the First Amendment or the traditional values of America’s free press.

Baron’s assessment is emblematic of the shocking and extreme dearth of intellectual scholarship about the current and future state of the media. Instead, news anchors and journalism professors are teaching students to capitulate to corporate ownership by losing any semblance of objectivity.

Baron had nothing but praise for Jeff Bezos, the owner of the WP and the owner of Amazon, which many consider to be a monopoly in flagrant violation of U.S. anti-trust laws. Baron said Bezos came to the Post in 2013 with a visionary plan to expand its coverage from a regional newspaper to a national digital publication. (Of course, The New York Times had already launched a digital platform in 1996 and a subscription-based internet paper in 2011.)

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The Precipitous, Alarming Decline of Free Speech

Simon & Schuster (S&S) may have had the right to drop a book written by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, on essentially political grounds.

But the act of doing so conjures up unpleasant images of suppression of unpopular and political speech.

The move is even more alarming as social media giants this week exercised their awesome power to silence the voices of American conservatives, from GOP President Donald Trump to Gen. Michael Flynn, ostensibly because they pose a threat of violence. (It may be purely coincidental that Trump recently sought to remove the platforms’ legal protection from lawsuits.)

But it feels different when a publisher silences an author. Perhaps because publishers historically championed unpopular books and authors.

Ironically, Hawley’s book is entitled, The Tyranny of Big Tech.

Not The First Time

This isn’t the first time S&S has cancelled a book by a conservative author.

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