Aug 15 2018

The Trump administration cut the steep 32-percent tariff it imposed on the newsprint industry earlier this year.

The tariffs were levied following a complaint from a Washington-based paper mill about Canadian mills receiving unfair subsidies and dumping product on the market. Canada is the biggest producer of newsprint.

Printers, publishers, paper suppliers and distributors employ more than 600,000 workers in the United States, according to Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers. The tariff hits commercial printing, book publishing, paper manufacturers, ink suppliers, fuel producers and equipment manufacturers.

In particular, the tariff has forced substantially higher costs on a beleaguered newspaper industry, forcing news organizations to raise prices and cut staff and content. It particularly threatens smaller community newspapers unable to absorb the cost increases.

This newspaper, among others in the industry, has taken an active role in asking Congress to curb the tariff. Even the American Forest and Paper Association has come out against the levy, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have begun working together to help.

Now, the Commerce Department has lowered those duties to just more than 20 percent for one large Canadian producer, just under 10 percent for two other large producers, and as little as around 1 percent for others.

Reducing the tariffs is a step in the right direction, albeit a temporary one. The U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to vote to set the final duties at the end of August and a ruling will come out Sept. 17.  We urge them to drop the tariffs altogether.

Remembering Charlottesville

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic events in Charlottesville that claimed the lives of Heather Heyer, Virginia State Police Lt. Jay Cullen, and Virginia State Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, a native of Nokesville.

The event was marked around the country. Locally, more than 60 people turned out for the Community Unity Against Hate rally at Conway Robinson State Forest in Gainesville Saturday.

Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, took his demonstration to Lafayette Square, across from the White House in Washington, Sunday. 

He asked for 400 supporters. In the end, fewer than 40 showed up, and that number was dwarfed by the police presence and thousands of counterprotesters.

A massive police presence followed the group from the Vienna Metro station into the city, keeping the two sides separated. The much-feared showdown between the white supremacists and counterprotesters did not happen. Some black-clad demonstrators lit smoke bombs and firecrackers and threw eggs in the direction of police, but for the most part, the event came off without violence.

“While we are opposed adamantly to what we are going to hear, we know what our responsibility is: to protect First Amendment events, to protect Washingtonians and to protect our city,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said last week. 

Bowser is correct on both counts. The right to free speech must always be preserved, and with it the right to be shouted down in the public square. Free speech that turns to violence and threatens the community as a whole, however, cannot be tolerated. 

The president tweeted: “I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence.” We couldn’t agree more. But all of us need to live by that creed every day. Actions, not just words. We owe that to Heather Heyer, Jay Cullen and Berke Bates.

‘We are not the enemy of the people’

The Boston Globe has reached out to editorial boards nationwide to write and publish editorials on Aug. 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a “dirty war against the free press.” More than 100 news outlets have signed on for the effort, from large dailies to small weeklies. This page has addressed the editorial board’s thoughts on that subject in recent weeks (“#notfakenews” -- Aug. 1; “In defense of the truth” – June 27). We stand in solidarity with our colleagues across the country when we say, in the words of Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page of The Boston Globe, “We are not the enemy of the people.”

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