Political corruption and the decline of local media

Jamelle Bouie, filling in for Yglesias in China, has an interesting post about how there is surely far more corruption in local politics than in national politics.   The biggest reason is a national media keeping our national politicians accountable, whereas state and local media are much less and declining:

Last year, the American Journalism Review reported that “only 355 full-time newspaper reporters at the nation’s state capitols, a 32 percent decrease from just six years ago.” What’s more, the vast majority of statehouses “have fewer full-time reporters than they did six years ago.” Simply put, it’s stupidly easy to be a corrupt local politician when media scrutiny is minimal or nonexistent.

I really liked this point, because it is something that David Simon, the creator of the Wire, emphasized frequently in interviews given during the media-focused fifth season.   State and local papers are really important for democracy, yet they’re shrinking and less able to do the meaningful part of their job all the time.

Might as well point out that the Compete Wire on DVD is on sale at Amazon for almost half price, just $129.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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