Commentary: Big Tech Has Been Destroying Local News

close-up of a newspaper showing the "Classified" section

It’s no secret that local newspapers have been dying. Since 2004, the United States has lost a quarter of its newspapers — 70 dailies and over 2,000 weeklies. This has been devastating for communities across the country who depend on these newspapers to stay informed and engaged. There are many factors causing this decline, but one of the main culprits, especially as of late, has been Big Tech.

There’s a term to describe the actions of massive corporations manipulating the levers of state power to dominate their markets and pad their bottom lines at the expense of others. It’s crony capitalism. Under this system, crony capitalists flood Washington, DC with campaign contributions, pay-to-play experts, and legions of lobbyists to shape the laws and regulations that govern their industries.

Sound familiar? If you have observed Big Tech’s movements within the halls of power in our nation’s capital over the past decade, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s said that if you whisper “Section 230” to yourself three times while walking through the Capitol, a Big Tech-funded lobbyist will suddenly appear to explain why changing even one word in the arcane law might trigger the apocalypse.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Government Needs Oversight and Transparency

It is a disturbing trend to hire outside consultants or independent contractors, with little direct oversight, to perform government jobs, whether nationally or statewide. The running joke is “if you have an out-of-state license plate on your car and drive by slowly at the Tennessee Department of Education, they will throw a contract in your car, and you too can be an education consultant.” Now that is probably not very accurate or fair, but then again, I have a Tennessee tag on my car and I have been known to drive a little fast.

It is likely that the majority of consultants and contractors follow our state laws and maintain the necessary integrity. However, all Tennesseans should be somewhat concerned by a contracting process if it has little or no accountability. We must also do a better job of tracking performance data. Especially when we are using tax dollars in Tennessee to contract with people outside the state. Oversight is critical to making sure taxpayers are getting what they are paying for.

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CEO and Publisher of New English Review Press, Rebecca Bynum Discusses the Roots of Her Business and Online Media

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed CEO and Publisher for the New English Review Press Rebecca Bynum in studio to discuss online newspapers and publishing and the changing landscape of traditional media mediums.

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Chatham Announces Plan to Buy Newspaper Publisher McClatchy

Hedge fund Chatham Asset Management plans to buy newspaper publisher McClatchy out of bankruptcy, ending 163 years of family control.

The companies did not put a price on the deal in an announcement Sunday. The agreement still needs the approval of a bankruptcy judge; a hearing is scheduled for July 24.

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Facebook Provides $16M in Grants to 200 Mostly Liberal Local Newsrooms

Facebook last week announced that more than 200 news organizations will receive nearly $16 million in grants through the Facebook Journalism Project’s relief fund for local news. These grants come from $25 million in relief funding announced in March from Facebook’s $100 million global investment in news. It includes:

$10.3 million being awarded to 144 US local newsrooms as part of the COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program. The fund is supporting many publishers who are hardest hit by this crisis: nearly 80 percent of recipients are family- or independently owned and more than half are published by or for communities of color.

$5.4 million being awarded to 59 North American newsrooms that participated in Facebook Local News Accelerator programs focused on subscriptions and memberships.

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Former Journalist Clint Brewer: ‘How People Consume Information Has Changed Just All the Way Around’

All-star panelist and public strategist Clint Brewer joined The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Wednesday morning on the newsmakers line.

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Do As We Say, Not as We Do: MSM Conveniently Reprimands Republicans, Not Democrats on First Amendment Reporting

Steve Gill

During Friday’s broadcast of The Gill Report – live on WETR 92.3 FM in Knoxville – conservative political commentator and Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill was humored by the one-sided and propaganda-driven reporting by the ‘fake news media,’ and it’s ability to conveniently forget the actions of the lefts…

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