Journalistic Coercion or Greed?

While this may appear as a local issue, beware, it just might catch on elsewhere.

It seems that my local paper just doubled its daily price to $2.00 and raised Sunday’s edition by fifty percent to $3.00 per.  This is supposedly due to a “less discussed tariff…on imported newsprint from Canada.”

Such an alert was featured in editorial form from none other than the publisher, of which he greatly expanded, for unknown reasons the reduced “letter to the editor” word count.  This had been reduced from it’s original 300 down to its 250 word limit.  In theory, this was supposedly due to it’s reader’s short attention span.  So now, are we to suppose that words straight from this  publisher, while excessive, automatically dismisses the circulation’s attention deficits?

Never-the-less, the publisher’s reason or alibi for such an exorbitant increase was laid at the feet of President’s Trump’s tariff policies.  Cited was “a single American manufacturer, North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), complained that Canadian companies were ‘dumping’ newsprint in the United States at below-market prices.”

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His essay reveals, “In response, the U.S. Commerce Department in March began assessing anti-dumping duties of up to 32 percent on newsprint and some other paper product from Canada.”  At least this identifies ‘newsprint’ as a paper product.  The caveat, “No other U.S. newsprint mills have supported the complaint by NORPAC nor the tariff.”

And just in case his ‘short attention’ spanned readership were struggling for maintaining such, this publisher re-enforced his message with a condescending, “Make no mistake, this is effectively a tax on local and community newspapers, on readers – and on journalism itself.”  Odd, at this late point, for such a journalistic concern since the vast majority of its pieces are obtained from the “mills” of the Associated Press.

The aforementioned “duties of up to 32 percent” hardly is the grist for such a hefty daily increase.  In fact, this is so huge that it takes on the appearance of coercion as it heightens public concerns to the supposed dangers embedded within Trump’s tariff policies.

Am I being too harsh in this era of fabrication and fable?  Is this pill just too much to swallow for some who are still adjusting to this welcome brand of pro American leadership?  After all, this notice tends to summons up only a one sided response, or at least it seems presented in such fashion.  What’s the average reader supposed to think when many in this locale are of the retirement set and thus are in tune with “pinching pennies.”

And what of that “newsprint” product which Canada provides.  Also available is option #2, stop importing and start producing our own paper milled product.  Now this opens up a vista to our dastardly past.  As the stale stench of environmentalism starts seeping, consider the fact that our natural abundance and attention to replenishment worked well until emotional thought and response for global concerns roared.  No sir, instead of orchestrating a similar response against tariffs, a deeper look reveals a more accurate and factual past of dastardly efforts which decimated our American industrial might, for which importation of goods now provides.

If this analysis is too involved, even slightly off-base, at the very least, greed could be making headway in an era known for not letting a crisis go to waste.  Could it be that this corporate decision was nurtured and hidden by the deception of a tariff monster?  What a nifty maneuver; increasing the “bottom line” while assigning blame to this publication’s most detested Presidential outcome.

As for this local reader, I understand the pitfalls of emotional response so I will guard against such knee slapping.  Instead, I may attempt to make my case within the designated 250 word brief, so as to not lose the readership’s attention; also too, while there remains a viable readership.


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Jim Bowman

Retired, grandfather, 71 years old, Vietnam vet, author of This Roar of Ours, over 25 year of published op/eds.

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