Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What social purpose do newspapers fulfil?

I have long argued that the institutional arrangements associated with the ownership of the Guardian/Observer is the key mechanism that enables it to publish relatively fearlessly.  It is not the plaything of ruthless rich or ideologically warped individuals or narrow self serving interest groups.  In a world in which there is increasing manipulation of the news, including processes associated with elective democracy, it is time to consider what institutional forms media companies should take?  Are they merely elements of laissez faire capitalism or, in granting them a social licence to operate, should we citizens demand more?  Questions such as these require urgent consideration in the light of recent actions by The New York Times:

"Amidst backlash and subscription cancellations for hiring extreme climate science denier, Bret Stephens, the New York Times offered a stunning defense: There are “millions of people who agree with him.”

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