These local newspapers say Facebook and Google are killing them. Now they’re fighting back.

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Lurking behind a groundbreaking lawsuit recently filed in federal court in West Virginia is a haunting question: What if?

What if local newspapers had been able to compete successfully for digital advertising revenue as their readers moved online? What if the powerful “duopoly” of Google and Facebook hadn’t sucked up all the oxygen in this new digital economy, essentially asphyxiating traditional media by depriving it of the ad dollars needed to survive?

Would the newspaper industry be healthier — and therefore would our democracy be healthier? Is there still time…

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