Re: Reader-Supported News

Written by  Paige Cousineau Wednesday, 07 February 2018 13:08
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Re: Reader-Supported News

Part of the fallout of the Trump victory in the US and the rise of populism globally has been articles, interviews, essays and books about the future of democracy and our individual freedoms. One such publication is a thin little book called "On Tyranny- Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century" by Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University.

Lesson Number 2 is entitled "Defend Institutions". He says "We tend to assume that institutions will automatically maintain themselves against even the most direct attacks. This was the very mistake that some German Jews made about Hitler and the Nazis after they had formed a government....It took less than a year for the new Nazi order to consolidate. By the end of 1933, Germany had become a one-party state in which all major institutions had been humbled."

That is history writ large, but the lesson applies at all levels, including at the very local level, our communities, in which you and I can be active participants. In Frontenac County and the surrounding area, The Frontenac News is a rare gem of a democratic institution. It provides consistently balanced, nuanced, and factual reporting. Helping us to know and understand our neighbours, the Frontenac News also helps us individually and as a community to defend ourselves against injustice and loss of liberty. Astonishingly in our cynical and greedy society, the Frontenac News is actively committed to providing access to all by remaining a free publication DELIVERED to every resident. How ironic that this makes it ineligible for government support.

And yet, without government funding, perhaps it is even more able to provide us news and information free from interference and censorship.

Snyder says, "It is institutions that help us to preserve decency. They need our help as well....Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So choose an institution you care about - a court, a newspaper, a law, a labour union - and take its side."

I am choosing The Frontenac News, because a user-supported institution (and not just dollar support) is a truly independent and enduring one.

Paige Cousineau

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