We All Should Be Concerned About A Tariff On Newsprint

May 29, 2018

Commentary: I am extremely concerned about the issue of a newsprint tariff. 

Why? Because, years ago, I took a journalism class in International Communications at NMSU taught by the late Professor Charles Eberhardt. He had started Voice of America in Italy, in the the 1940’s, and I remember him telling us that one way some governments control citizens is to withhold newsprint. Many, actually most, newspapers are barely keeping their heads above water as it is. Smaller and rural newspapers will go out of business if a tariff on newsprint forces them totally out of business.

Especially since the beginning of the internet, we do not need our news sources compromised. This is a violation of our First Amendment right of “Freedom of the Press,” as guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States of America. 

I urge everyone to contact our two New Mexico Senators, Heinrich and Udall, and our Representative, Steve Pearce, and let them know how important this issue is. I come from a small town: Gonzales, Texas, and the original newspaper, the Gonzales Inquirer,  has had to cut its’ publication to twice a week now. Our local newspapers here are suffering, also. Our voice media outlets, such as Public Broadcasting Service for television, and NPR suffer greatly because of severe cuts in funding.

The radio station in my home county was going out of business, and now operates as a National Public Radio station, thanks to a generous soul who would probably kill me if I told who s/he was. Even now, there is very little local programming on the station because of shortage of funds. I understand they no longer broadcast the cattle auction, the local deaths and funerals, and other programming, such as “Polka Parade,” which have been of great interest to the Czech, German, Austrian, Polish, and other immigrants who settled there; my family included. 

This needs immediate attention. Everyone needs to be concerned and involved in any attempts to restrict media outlets! We should not want to be reduced to the news available to a second or third-world country. I recently saw a story (on CBS, I believe), in which a concern by a young man (in Nigeria, I believe) had him writing the news in chalk on a public board, where the indigenous people gathered around to read or have it read to them. He was running out of chalk, and made an appeal for people to send chalk.

This is a serious issue! Please write or call your Senators and Representatives now! And ask others you know to do so.