The U.S. House, in its version of the next defense budget, has voted to continue the current funding for Stars and Stripes, the independent newspaper covering the U.S. military. It’s the right decision, and it needs to remain in the final version of the bill.
The Pentagon had recommended ending the federal government’s annual contribution of $15.5 million as a cost-saving measure. But the military budget for next year is going to exceed some $740 billion. So, the Stars and Stripes appropriation — which covers about half of the newspaper’s annual budget, with the rest from sales, subscriptions and advertising — is a pittance.
The question, then, really isn’t about money. It’s about whether Stars and Stripes has significant value for our country’s service personnel and for the public. And the answer is clear: It most certainly does.
Stars and Stripes provides articles and photographs of an impressively high standard. It examines military-related topics that often don’t receive coverage by national newspapers. And the newspaper is a well-appreciated part of the culture for both active-duty and retired military personnel.
In its final decision on the defense budget, Congress must say “yes” to supporting Stars and Stripes. Continuing the funding is a worthwhile investment in quality journalism that well serves the military and the public.
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