Carl Cannon at RealClearPolitics:

To journalists whose lives have been turned upside down, these mass layoffs always felt like more than a blow to their family finances. It seemed like a grave civic loss as well. No matter what our critics think, the press was never just another profession. It was a uniquely American invention, nurtured by immigrants, mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, and successfully defended in court more than 50 years before the Bill of Rights was adopted. The First Amendment didn’t create the free press. A free press created the revolution that produced the First Amendment. Keeping it alive isn’t merely indulging nostalgia. It’s an essential element of self-government.


In other words, the decimation of this industry has profound costs to democracy. Most newspapers now have skeletal local reporting staffs assigned to cover local government, little presence in their own state capitals, and none in Washington. At a conference a few years ago celebrating the movie “Spotlight,” former Baltimore Sun journalist (and creator of “The Wire”) David Simon noted ruefully that this is the best time in American history to be a corrupt politician. Why? Because most officeholders in local, state, and federal government have nobody assigned to cover them. This is not an academic concern.