Potential tariff will hurt local news, too


Levy requested by lone source, but could affect entire industry


In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Edward Carrington, whom he had sent as a delegate to the Continental Congress. In the letter, Jefferson stressed the importance of a free press, specifically newspapers. He understood that one of the most important checks on government power was a well-informed electorate.

“The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty,” Jefferson wrote.

Tariffs on imported aluminum and steel and products from China have gotten much media coverage. But a similar threat exists in the publishing industry because the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post and other newspapers may soon have to react to import tariffs on supplies from Canada, as high as 32 percent.

This tariff is being requested by a single American newsprint manufacturer, North Pacific Paper Company in Washington state that is owned by a New York-based hedge fund. The owner of that company complains that Canadian companies are dumping their product in the U.S. at below-market prices.

Everyone else seems to realize the damage this will cause to the news industry and ultimately reduce the demand for newsprint, according to the News Media Alliance, a trade association that represents about 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Prices could rise from $600 to $800 for every ton of newsprint, which adds up quickly. (The Standard-Radio Post uses roughly two million pounds annually.)

Fortunately, more than 60 organizations are fighting back in hopes of not “kicking an industry while it is down,” meaning not harming the newspaper industry as online news sources have cut into its revenues and job numbers.

We don’t have to tell our readers that we invest heavily in covering this community, from telling local stories, the good and the bad, to reporting on schools, city and county governments, crime, sports, weddings, anniversaries, births and obituaries. A tariff like this proposal could only make our job more difficult.

The effective result would be to punish those who seek to bring you your local news — “the only safeguard of public liberty.”

Toward the end of Jefferson’s letter to Carrington, he said “… were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Please help ensure that every person who wants to read a newspaper has the opportunity to do so. — K.E.C.


*Some information reprinted from The Community News in Aledo and the Galveston Daily News.


How you can help

Write your Congressman and ask him to express opposition to the U.S. Department of Commerce — The Honorable Representative Lamar Smith, 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640, San Antonio, TX 78209, or phone (210) 821-5024 or email lamar.smith@mail.house.gov.

Subscribe to the print product – Call 997-2155 or visit www.fredericksburgstandard.com

Visit www.stopnewsprinttariffs.org for more information