Guthrie talks about journalism, politics in Danville

Published 6:50 am Saturday, September 22, 2018

Congressman Brett Guthrie stopped by The Advocate-Messenger for a quick, informal chat Friday morning while on his way to an event in Jessamine County. He wants the public to know bipartisan work is getting done in Washington, despite what they may hear on national TV news shows. He’s also learning first-hand about difficult issues facing print journalists in today’s world  of electronic media because his daughter is studying journalism in college.

Guthrie said when his daughter was recently about to enroll in a private college specializing in journalism, a speaker told the group they were about to pay for an education that’s “not cheap.” He went on to say they were probably sitting there, asking themselves why, since journalism is “probably going away.”

The speaker answered his own question, “There are stories that need to be told, and there are people that need to tell them,” Guthrie said.

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The main problem seems to be for the newspaper industry to be able to provide informative stories by good writers and generate enough revenue to stay in business.

“There’s just infinite different ways to tell them,” Guthrie said the speaker told the group. And that is very entrepreneurial, Guthrie said. “You’ve got to figure out how to do it.”

“I like newspapers, so I’m interested in this,” Guthrie said. Someone from another newspaper company explained to him that advertising in newspapers, whether it’s an ad on a page or inserts, doesn’t translate equally when someone uses a search engine to find a story. The search engines get most of the revenue, Guthrie said.

“I don’t know what the answer is. Some entrepreneur will figure it out.”

Speaking about the proposed repurposing of the gas pipeline that cuts through Boyle County, Guthrie said he doesn’t have an opinion yet on the situation.

“I don’t know. They’ve (Kinder Morgan, the owner of the pipeline) got to propose what they’re going to do and go through a regulatory process,” he said. After that, he would be able to make an informed decision.

“Hypothetically, if I look at something and don’t feel it can be safe and be safely done, I’m not going to be for something that is not safe. But I’m saying hypothetically because they haven’t proposed what they’re going to do,” Guthrie said.

Another concern some local residents have is about water quality in Herrington Lake and possible environmental harm being caused by coal ash at Kentucky Utility’s E.W. Brown power plant.

Guthrie admitted he wasn’t familiar with the issue but said he would look into the matter. “I just need to know more about it … I need to study that more.”

On a national level, Guthrie said after being home from Washington for a few days, “The biggest thing that I hear is most people feel like nothing is getting done.”

“But there’s lots going on in Washington. If you watch the national news, you would think everything is in stalemate and everybody is arguing with each other, and obviously that’s going on. That’s why national news is showing it.”

“But for the most part, people are working together,” Guthrie said.

Examples he gave where bipartisanship is working included four bills he’s currently working on with Democratic co-sponsors concerning student loans, Medicaid, apprenticeships and opioid recovery centers.

“It’s the fault of both sides that we’re not always at a national level telling our story, that the tax cuts passed, the economy is growing, there are more jobs than people,” Guthrie said. “I know that we have certain people in our party that chase different stories. And we have people that try to create stories on the other side. And I think that it gets lost that there are people in Washington trying to make things work.”