News desert: Oh, the irony

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

On March 2, Betty Bean, writing in Knox TN Today, exposed a bill pending in the legislature to change the method of elections for city council members in Knoxville. With quotes from Theotis Robinson to Carlene Malone, Bean rallied opposition. Why change what voters approved by a charter amendment? We’re not ready to post an R.I.P. on it, but we also don’t expect it to pass any time soon.

On the same day, March 2, Knoxville’s daily paper had a story from the legislature. It started on Page One, extended to 8A and finished with a half-page on 14A. In all, the story was virtually a full page. The topic? How the bankers’ lobbyist is trying to modify the requirement that foreclosure notices be published three times in a local paper.

The writer quoted a newspaper publisher and the lobbyist for the Tennessee Press Association saying this bill could lead to the death of papers in rural areas, creating a “news desert.”

If a news desert is a place without important news that people care to read, we might suggest that the Knoxville daily already has a head start on that here.

How to cut insulin prices

Headline on the March 2, 2023, front page of USA Today: Eli Lilly cuts price of insulin up to 70%.

The text says the action comes as federal and state lawmakers and patient advocates pressure drug companies and health insurers to improve affordability for the lifesaving medication used by more than 8 million Americans. Read the full story here.

Last March, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett said President Biden’s blustering about insulin prices was a bad idea.

“Supporting government-mandated insulin prices won’t help. … Capping the price of insulin does nothing to address the reasons why it is so expensive in the first place. Instead, this scam shifts costs to seniors and working Americans in the form of higher insurance premiums and increased prices for other prescription drugs.”

Burchett urged then-Speaker Pelosi to schedule H.R. 19, “the Lower Costs, More Cures Act,” that would “limit the role of greedy middlemen price negotiators and quickly bring new, less expensive insulin products to the market.”

H.R. 19 died in a House subcommittee and to my knowledge has not been re-introduced in the current session.

Maybe Biden’s blustering caught the attention of Eli Lilly. Maybe it was the hackers who took over the company’s website to proclaim “free insulin.” For whatever reason, the insulin industry leader has led and challenged others to join them.

Joe Biden reminds me of “Give ‘em hell, Harry” Truman – a regular Joe who says malarkey a lot and fears no human or beast.

In 1948, Truman won election to a full term despite being written off for dead by the moneyed and media elites. He carried Tennessee with 49.14% of the vote to Thomas Dewey’s 36.8%. Wonder how that vote would go today?

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.


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