Government Funding Cannot Save Journalism

Government Funding Cannot Save Journalism

Government Funding Cannot Save Journalism

David Carr calls the idea that good watchdog media can be funded by the government "frankly preposterous."


In a conversation with The Nation‘s John Nichols and others about new models for journalism, New York Times media critic David Carr argues vigorously that government funding and subsidies can’t save journalism. "I don’t view government as either dependable, as efficacious and as capable." Carr supports this statement by explaining that today’s public models of journalism, like PBS and NPR, receive only about 20 percent of their budget from government funding. Additionally, other areas funded by the government, such as public schools, hospitals and infrastructure, lack money. Carr advocates for a hybrid model which would combine citizen funding with support from the private and charitable sectors.

He also argues that Nichols and McChesney, in their book The Death and Life of American Journalism, underestimate journalism’s "green shoots," new models that, although in their infancy, could provide real solutions to the current failings of American journalism. "You can make the argument…it’s not enough, but that’s not how change occurs," Carr argues. "You don’t flip the switch…and walk into a bright future."

–Morgan Ashenfelter

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