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Luke Morgan on Capitalism & the Decline of Journalism

Season 1, Ep. 530

In this episode, Luke Morgan discusses his article "The Broken Branch: Capitalism, the Constitution, and the Press," forthcoming in the Penn State Law Review. Morgan begins by discussing the economic decline of journalism, and why applying market logic to the public good of journalism has precipitated its decline. He continues by explaining why journalism cannot exist as a market product, arguing that its limited success in that regard is a result of a combination of subsidization by advertisers, a business model that has been destroyed by the internet. Describing two emerging models of addressing the problem -- patronage and corporatization -- he details how each undermines the democratic purpose of journalism without solving its fundamental economic problem.

Morgan then explores the role of the institutional press within the Constitutional system, noting the importance of press freedom and of the institutional press itself to America's founding generation. He argues that the Press Clause of the First Amendment has been essentially been written out of the Constitution through the Supreme Court's adoption of the "dissemination theory" of the Press Clause, and argues against that theory. He notes that the combination of market and political pressures threaten press freedom, creating a condition of "press unfreedom." Morgan concludes by providing his insights and recommendations for the public, policymakers, and governments. He is on Twitter at @s_lukemorgan.

This episode was hosted by Luce Nguyen. She is on Twitter at @NguyenLuce.

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