Letter – Google, Facebook should pay for using news or produce their own

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

To the Editor:

I have recently read a couple of editorials by you in the Suffolk News-Herald dealing with the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA). I wish to briefly mention two issues regarding gaining support from the public to actively support your legislative efforts.

One: As I see it, getting citizens to write to their congressperson will be hindered by the negative image too many have of the journalism establishment. Many people have abandoned being news customers because of “political correctness” in how important social issues are covered, particularly those having to do with the failures of governments’ “wars on poverty and inequality” efforts.


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Some legal progress has been made with inequality, but most of the poverty efforts have resulted in the violent crime that has developed during the last 50 years. This type of crime, which continues to worsen, did not exist in our society before Lyndon Johnson initiated his socialistic programs. There are direct relationships between where the most welfare money is spent and where the greatest rates of violent crime exist. It is impossible to get the mainstream media to directly address these issues.

Two: Some concepts regarding the journalism business establishment seem to be missing. Why do news publishers have to negotiate with news distributors such as Facebook and Google? For example, in the music industry a recording is produced. A radio or television music distributor plays a recording on the air or includes one in a movie. So far as I know no negotiation is involved; the recording company charges a set fee for each one-time use by a music distributor. If the music distributor fails to pay the set fee it can be sued under the federal copyright law. That is to say, each time I read a copyrighted article by the Suffolk News-Herald in Google News, Google News should pay Suffolk News-Herald the set fee each time a person like me reads an article. Google News gets its money for paying the fee comes from their advertising income.

If Google News only values low-quality news, someone should develop a news distribution service that does. I suspect there are a lot of people who have abandoned the current mainstream news that will go to a website publishing quality journalism.

I hope this is helpful. Thomas Jefferson stated, “The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man.” Unfortunately, his quote was previously found in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper lobby. That building is now being converted into luxury apartments in downtown Norfolk.


Joseph L. Bass, EdD