Supporters of the Stars and Stripes news organization are sending a letter to members of Congress asking them to support funding of the 159 year-old institution, which was founded in Missouri in the middle of the Civil War.
Kathy Kiely, Lee Hills Chair of Free Press Studies at the University of Missouri Graduate School, and Brian Brooks, Mizzou professor emeritus and former Stars and Stripes editor, are circulating the letter.
The letter, which seeks bipartisan support, refutes DOD Acting Comptroller Elaine McCusker’s justification for cutting funding. She said, “We have essentially decided coming into the modern age that newspaper is probably not the best way we communicate any longer.”
The letter states, “We would like to make two points to refute this line of thinking:
1. Stars and Stripes is not obsolete: It today publishes content on digital platforms in addition to producing a print edition that remains important at a time when troops on some of the most dangerous deployments are not permitted to carry cell phones or other personal electronic devices.
2. Stars and Stripes has never been a Pentagon mouthpiece. Like all good news organizations, it serves not its underwriters, but its readers, covering news and telling stories of concern to rank and file troops from the unique perspective of the military community that no other news organization provides. Sometimes those are stories the Pentagon might rather not hear. But the fact that we allow them to be heard is what differentiates our country from so many others.