April 21st, 2009
09:00 AM ET
9 years ago

Kerry to hold hearing on the future of journalism

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts announced Monday that he will chair a subcommittee hearing on the future of journalism.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts announced Monday that he will chair a subcommittee hearing on the future of journalism.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A prominent Democrat is joining the fray as many of the nation's newspapers slash staffs, file for bankruptcy, end their print editions, or cease publishing altogether.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts announced Monday that he will chair a subcommittee hearing on the future of journalism.

"An independent news media is vital to our democracy," Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, said in a statement Monday evening. "The history of our Republic is inextricably linked to the narrative of our free and independent press, yet today, America's newspapers are struggling just to stay afloat. I called this hearing to directly address a problem that for too long has had us turning the other way. Whatever the model for the future, we must do all we can to ensure a diverse and independent news media endures."

The hearing is set for May 6. It is the subcommittee's first hearing since Kerry became the chair. It "will address the economic recession's impact on media," the statement said.

Filed under: John Kerry
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Mike in OHIO

    There is an army of independant thinkers all plugged into this very internet we're all using right now. Senator Kerry, harness the power of the people to report on their own world... include that goal in your plans for maintaining our free press. We have the power to tell our own story! Protect our right to dissent and criticism of our government.

    April 21, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. el Rob O

    What kerry is really saying is...

    "The conservatives in the media are beginning to get the truth about us out there and we have to silence them. We need to find ways to remove their freedom without making it look too obvious."

    April 21, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Debbie

    I was doing journalist as my major and I don't like the carreer anymore since our media is spreading alot of lies and criticism that I can not do on air. They have confused me so much....

    April 21, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. gregg

    Kerry is rich, I hope he comes up with a network that will be reporting news!!

    April 21, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Chris

    Hey Frank Dan Rather got fired because he used a fake document as his source about the President’s service. Not for asking tough questions.

    I have no problem with investigating government officials but don't make up things and use fake documents to try and sabotage an election.

    This is only one example of why the majority of people do not view the media as independent.

    April 21, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. patNY

    To those complaining about liberal media, etc...you just need to realize that there is news reporting [just stating the facts of the events of the day], and news commentating [putting one's spin on what happened today]. The problem is that the divide between the two is becoming less and less aparent, and people are mistaking commentating for actual news. Perhaps if people stood back, and made this assessment, they would not be so negative on this blog. And, keep in mind, Fox news was put in place specifically to provide a conservative view point...if you don't like that view point, don't watch it. Same for those who complain CNN, and others, are just full of liberal opinions. In other words, there's enough room for all points of view on cable!

    April 21, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Bill

    Folks, there is a difference between "independant" press and "agendaless" press. Here's a history lesson for you...We have always had, and have today, and independant press...it is a press that is NOT run by the government.

    However, we have ALWAYS had a press with an agenda. It has typically been a political agenda. Benjamin Franklin wrote fabrications against political rivals for the newspapers of his day...so did Jefferson.

    The idea of a balanced and fair press is naive. It has never existed. Fox News will always be consevative, as will USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and the Tribune Co. Papers. CNN will always be revoltingly "Populist" agitators. NBC, the New York Times and the Washington post will tend to be progressive.

    What we need to guard against in this country is a government takeover of the media. There have been threats of that happening from both the left and the right.

    April 21, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Jake

    Oh goody, another sub committee for Kerry. Should the big government be getting in bed with the media? Seems like a major conflict of interest unless you benefit from it, Kerry...?

    April 21, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    Kerry is right about one thing...an INDEPENDENT print media is necessary. Unfortunately, today's print media are anything but that..... they are all tied to the liberal left wing. Good riddance to them.

    April 21, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Brent

    End the media monopolies, it's that simple. Right now only 5 corporations control all mainstream media in the United States. There used to be a limit on how many news papers and tv/radio outlets a media company could own... If there were more successful ACTUAL independant media companies, an independent media (both in structure and of the government and private corporate interests) would flourish. Added to this, CREDIBILITY. No more FOX news and maybe people with actual journalism degrees would be hired as reporters, rather than former lobby and party shills and propaganda writers with non-related degrees.

    April 21, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "Fox" and "balanced" were actually used in the same sentence in this commentary section? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Yep...it's certainly fair and balanced for Hannity to question Obama's birth certificate when there's no evidence that it's fake and the courts have thrown out that argument.

    Sure is fair and balanced for Glenn Beck to pretend that violent revolution and secession are appropriate, viable, responsible options for people like himself who can't stand that their ideology is broken, proven so and that America has now rejected them.

    And O'Reilly? I mean, c'mon, how could it not be fair and balanced for him to shout over every guest that disagrees with him, call them names and maybe even hit a mute button so they can't speak?

    What a load of garbage.

    April 21, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. LIP

    The DNC should be very concerned and concerned enough to establish a committee to investigate their largest mouth organ used primarily for dispersing the spin they do so appreciate. What would the news be without the liberal approach to everything.

    April 21, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. rich

    It's been decades since I purchased a newspaper. I stopped as soon as I came to the conclusion that they were not independent and try to influence every aspect of American life where they could. This was worse for politics. Whatever last bit of respect I had for the media was lost with the Iraq fiasco when the media by and large just sat by like a bunch of cowards cowering under the pretence of being patriotic, and did George Bush's bidding to keep their jobs. I am happy that many of them are going out of business. The recession is cleaning house and that's a good thing. May the strongest and most independent survive.

    April 21, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Sniffit

    Complaints about the "Liberal Media" from all the GOPers...translation = "The facts and evidence are inconvenient for us and the media should be ignoring them as muchas possible so we can continune to sell our broken, disproven ideological diarrhea to the masses and get them to believe it because they won't know any better. Any media outlet that prints or states facts, e.g., science about evolution or global warming or all the scientific studies disproving the effectiveness of things such as torture and trickle-down economics (and the fine line between the two), is just trying to further the "libera' agenda." We should be able to sell our political lies with impugnity and the media should stay out of the business of pointing out that reality happens to be contrary to what we're telling people to believe."

    April 21, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. The Right Isn't

    Barry April 21st, 2009 10:53 am ET

    Is this a joke. Our news media is so biased that it makes me sick. I do not think I dislike any one group more than mainstream journalists with the exception of ACLU lawyers. Take the example of CNN reporter Susan Roesgen last week carrying her agenda in as non-biased "reporter" covering a story.

    Uhh, Barry,...Susan Roesgen was just trying to get that guy to explain why he was calling Obama a fascist. He couldn't give her an answer.
    Asking tough questions is not biased that is what journalists should do. The fact that CNN was covering the so called Tea Parties at all says something. How many in depth stories did Faux have on the war protests? And, in case you are not aware, the ACLU fights for the rights afforded to each and every one of us by the constituiton of this country. Free Press and consitutional rights, two more things the right cannot tolerate.

    April 21, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Some Guy

    "Don't worry… AM radio and FOX cable are profiting even in a slow economy… so the truth will still be out there"

    Funniest post of the day!

    April 21, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. ray ray

    Government Banks

    Government Auto Company

    All we need now is Government-run Media to make the "change" from free and independent to government-controlled socialism.

    April 21, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. JB

    What Kerry is really saying:

    "The far left journalists are losing a place to spit out their propanganda".
    Have you noticed that there are newspapers that are doing just fine, and then there are newspapers that are stuggling. Those that are struggling are the ones who try to sneak in opinion when "reporting". The New York Times, the Boston Globe, the LA Times and any NBC affiliated reporting arm are failing because they continue to attempt to influence news as opposed to reporing it. We do not want to be told what to think.

    April 21, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Lisa B

    Real journalism is definitely a dying breed. It died when Walter Cronkite retired and when Dan Rather was made an example of by Bush. I remember "editorials" and "opinions" that were always prefaced so as not to be the opinion of the "station" or publication. And, anyone who really believes that Fox News is "fair and balanced" probably is a neocon and probably gets all their news from Fox, Rush and Hannity. If you took a survey of the attendees at the Tea Parties last week, I guarantee over 50% of them are loyal Fox news watchers. Hmmmmm.

    April 21, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Joe, Chicago IL

    Most know that the Liberal media (CNN, NY Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, Air America) are all suffering finacially.

    Is it due to the economy?-NO

    Is it due to unfiar competition?-NO

    Is it due to the average American seeing that the outlets have become cheerleaders and just write puff pieces for the liberals?-MAYBE

    Free speach and free press is free from any government interaction and Kerry interaction.

    If you cannot sell ads or cannot find a financial backer...you need to fail in the free press.


    April 21, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Sniffit

    waaah waaah..."liberal media"....waaaaah

    Cry me a river that reality, i.e., the facts and evidence, happens to be liberal.

    Perhaps if you GOPers spent more time listening to reality and adapting your ideology accordingly, instead of expecting your ideology to dictate to reality, you'd be less worried about the media being "liberal."

    April 21, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Nathan

    Of all the discussions I have seen at CNN, this one exhibits the most stunning thoughtlessness. It is not simply a matter of print vs electronic media. The issue is that very careful and elaborate systems of checking and vetting and reviewing grew up in relation to print media. This is true not only of major newspapers, but also of University based academic presses. Those presses as well as newspapers AND ALSO THE SYSTEMS AND PRACTICES OF CHECKING, VETTING, REVIEWING are not surviving. They have not made the transition to a much more attention-trapping, short attention span electronic environment. This has consequences for the way a democratic public is formed and informed. It has consequences for scholarship and higher education in which students and some scholars read in screen-sized chunks much more often than they read books that explore an issue in depth, at length, and from many perspectives–books that have been carefully reviewed and revised in the light of what other scholars have to say about them.

    April 21, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. bj, Texas

    When the NY Times, LA Times, and Washington Post began their pro-lib agenda was when journalism ended and drive-by reporting began. Newpapers no longer report the news, they comment on it, try to influence the reader and try to further their own biased agenda.

    April 21, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Luke

    Wake up! All you commenters saying we should let journalism die should be ashamed of yourselves. The free flow of information is the only thing that keeps citizens free. If journalism were to suddenly stop, we would be living under a totalitarian police state within five years. Journalism and democracy are inseparable, and we need to support news agencies that do good reporting and aren't beholden to corporate sponsors. We cannot just let business interests determine what survives because that isn't beneficial to citizens. Journalism must be a separate entity from the government and the business world.

    April 21, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Ray Fisher

    Journalism should take the Wikipedia approach with everyone contributing but a team of editors to create a final product for a small fee by subscription to both read and submit.

    April 21, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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