My Rural America - Common Ground. Common Sense

My Rural America is an independent, nonprofit news site that shares information from trusted investigative journalists.  We choose stories that connect to rural America. These stories, most often about the issues and policies discussed (argued about) in Washington and in State Capitals, are ones most often talked about at the kitchen tables of rural America, and on Facebook and many other social media websites, radio stations and on television.

The difference between the news stories My Rural America shares and all too often, some other news sharing sites is that we do our best to bring our readers documented, truthful information.  We also share the sites of other news sites that we believe you can trust, e.g., one of those is ProPublica https://www.propublica.org/about/ which specializes in doing their own investigative journalism.

When I originally founded My Rural America Action Fund, it was my belief that when rural citizens are armed with factual, policy “tools”, they will demand their elected officials do a better job of representing them.  Thus, our goals here at this website is to share documented information about how progressive policies offer opportunities …

  • For the growth of good rural jobs
  • A strengthened rural economy
  • Support for public education and retraining, and
  • Affordable health care

… that are good for rural families while helping our nation come together again, reformed as a strong and compassionate government that doesn’t leave anybody out.

We agree with the Kaiser Foundation’s research which has shown that 2/3 of Rural Americans believe they have been forgotten, and thus, left out of our nation’s growing economy.  Sadly, these Americans are correct, underlined by data that shows the growth of good jobs in metropolitan areas having grown more than twice as fast as those in rural America.  By sharing fact-based news, My Rural America hopes to help Rural Americans find new opportunities and build on these possibilities.

We also believe that the most serious challenge for national progressives is their inability to communicate and be heard on critical issues.  In fact, in today’s political “theater”, it is difficult for almost everyone to be heard.  Studying the Pew Institute’s recently released study, “The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online” is a good place to learn about how many people in the 2016 elections relied upon misinformation to make their voting decisions.  One recent fact, as verified by Facebook and reported in The Washington Post, is that 126 Million Americans have been exposed to Russian disinformation on Facebook.

Note, in the above example, Facebook “verified” but The Washington Post “reported”.   According to Northeastern University’s Dan Kennedy, “some 85% of accountability journalism is produced by newspapers”.  These newspapers are mostly big city newspapers which for decades were relied upon by the small-town community newspapers which relied upon big city newspapers for investigations and news stories.  Now, the Internet, joined by Fox News and rural radio, has captured much of these newspapers’ advertising budgets but not the responsibility for accountability.  However, even if 100% of these sites were perfect in their jobs, rural Americans are being left out.  The Federal Communications Commission has identified 39 percent of rural Americans, or roughly 23 million people, who still lack access to broadband Internet service.

At My Rural America, we don’t want rural Americans to be left out.  That’s why we are staunch supporters of federal funding for broadband Internet services.  It’s a little like the days when rural Americans couldn’t get electricity in the 1930’s.  The electric providers said there weren’t enough people to bother and that it was too expensive, but President Franklin Roosevelt convinced the Congress that rural America needed electricity, and now, it is a rare household, that doesn’t have it.  Today, USDA’s Rural Development mission area has this responsibility, but it is Congress’ responsibility to fund it.  We will need to watch carefully as the Farm Bill comes up to see which Members of Congress support the funding necessary for rural America to get its share of the funding “pie” for Internet services.

In summary, we welcome you – “Dear Readers”.  Today is just the beginning.  We hope to share many critical issues with you.  We believe that responsible journalism comes with moral force, and that for you to make wise decisions at the ballot box, accessing accurate information easily is critical to your decision-making.  We believe it is also critical to our nation and the hope for a continuing democracy, that voters everywhere have news they can rely upon.

We also invite you to sign up … let us know what you are thinking about, and what issues you would like to see more stories about.  Today’s “first release” of the My Rural America website is just the beginning.  

Barbara Leach

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