We’re big fans of Rep. Annie Kuster at NHJournal. We admire the fact that she’s willing to stand by her progressive politics and far-left friends at a time when most New Hampshire Democrats are desperately trying to hide their views from the voters. At a time when finding out, say, Senator Maggie Hassan’s position on the $3,5 trillion social spending plan would require waterboarding, Rep. Kuster lets her progressive freak flag fly, giving ‘Build Back Better’ her full backing.
Plus – Kuster’s a fan of NHJournal. Like the House Democratic Caucus, she relies on our reporting for her campaign mailings and political messaging — her way of endorsing New Hampshire Journal’s quality, trustworthy journalism.
But seriously, Annie — you’ve done enough. You don’t need to put us on the taxpayer’s dole, too.
One of the items up for consideration in the $3.5 trillion spending proposal is H.R.3940, the “Local Journalism Sustainability Act,” co-sponsored by Rep. Kuster. She supports giving news organizations like NHJournal up to $50,000 a year for each and every journalist on staff.
All paid for by, to paraphrase PBS, “taxpaying people like you.”
Under the plan, the money goes to publications with fewer than 750 employees, who “[serve] the needs of a regional or local community,” and employ at least one journalist who lives in the area.
We’re in, baby!
It’s no secret that paying the bills in the news biz is tough these days. According to the Brookings Institution, more than 2,000 newspapers shut down or merged from 2004 to 2019. So, sure — another 50 grand would come in handy covering the comings and goings of New Hampshire’s federal delegation.
The problem, of course, comes when the people you’re reporting on are also the people who are paying you. How can voters possibly expect unbiased, objective political reporting from people who are essentially government employees?
Taking money doled out by Democrats like Kuster would be, on its face, a conflict of interest for New Hampshire news publications. The same is true in New York and Illinois, where some Republican members of Congress are backing the plan, too.
As usual, we sent a request for comment to Kuster’s office regarding the Local Journalism Sustainability Act and her co-sponsorship. As usual, Kuster had no comment.
Do news consumers really want reporters who are getting paid through the generosity of their local members of Congress? If you think the news coverage of New Hampshire’s all-Democrat delegation is soft now, wait until the reporters are on the payroll. Hassan and Shaheen will be getting foot rubs and feather pillows at every presser.
As a member in good standing of the New Hampshire Press Association, NHJournal urges the NHPA to issue a statement opposing this Kuster-backed plan before it makes it into the reconciliation bill. We also urge all our fellow news organizations to do the same. (Consider this ours.)
But the people who should really be concerned are New Hampshire taxpayers.
The $3.5 trillion in social programs and Green New Deal energy policies is such a huge amount of spending — the single largest spending plan since at least the Great Society programs under LBJ — it’s impossible for most of us to comprehend the size and scope. How off the hook is the spending spree, really?
Here’s a hint: Democrats are so desperate to spend this money, they’re willing to give hundreds of thousands of dollars of it… to NHJournal.
Imagine how much cash they’re flinging at people they like?