I still don't understand how Google providing a link to a news article does anything to the news company but provide a benefit. Google benefits, too. Seems like a win-win situation. I don't understand why Google caved.
You're an outlier in that you actually read the articles from which a headline is derived. 99% of people, especially Facebook users, only read the headlines and they never EVER bother reading the actual substance about a topic that they then proceed to rail on about. FB (and most all other social media) users share links all over the place without having ever learned what that link is actually talking about. So in essence, their content is being shared but their sites never visited. Entire discussions are had about a topic that some journalist took the time to create and write about but a good chunk of people discuss and share this article without knowing who wrote it or worse, realizing that it wasn't written by a journalist but rather by some bot somewhere just to elicit their outrage....but that's a whole other can of worms for another day.
Google Ads is based upon this principle. Webmasters create places on their sites where Google can run ads that companies pay them to run, and when someone clicks on one of those ads then the website running it gains revenue. Making links available to click on is a benefit to the websites linked to, and companies are willing to pay for other websites to host links (in the form of ads) to their own websites.
Adblockers man, adblockers. I certainly hope you are smart enough to not click ads on the internet should you not be tech savvy enough to not see them.
The other problem with a purely subscription based model is that it seems like it would push people even further into their own echo chambers. If people have to pay for access to news in that manner, then it is that much less likely that a person is willing to seek out opposing views. No fucking way will I willingly pay Fox news or Breitbart, or god forbid OANN or Newsmax, just to get a different perspective. At the same time, I don't want to only get my news from a limited number of sources that I personally am convinced is "unbiased" because that doesn't exist.