Earlier this year, we took on why journalists who were quoting Thomas Jefferson's famous line: "were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter" were missing the point
, noting that he really meant journalism
not newspapers -- and journalism isn't going away at all. However, Jay Rosen points out that the quote is actually out of context
. The full Jefferson quote even more clearly makes the point that it's not physical newspapers
, he's concerned about:
"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." -- Thomas Jefferson
From that quote, it seems likely that Jefferson would be quite a fan of the web and
the fact that news on the web was free and widely available -- contrary to the point made by most old school news folks quoting it.