They take their contentious position --- to "treat journalism as an indispensable public good, on par with our transportation infrastructure, the social safety net, public universities, etc." --- out of fear that the rupturing of the media will make it impossible to sustain certain forms of reporting.
"If we don’t get beyond the rational but outdated fear of government help for accountability journalism—if we just let the market sort it out—this vital public good will continue to decline," the editorial argues.
"We are not in favor of a bailout for the newspaper business, and we certainly don’t support subsidies that would simply prop up the status quo. But it seems increasingly clear that, at least in the short term, sustaining the kind of accountability journalism that our society needs—and that newspapers have been the chief producers of—will require some creative help from Uncle Sam."