What publishers expect:
Google and others stop linking and users say "oh, I'm not getting my news, I'll subscribe to all these news sites to get my news.
Users find alternative sites that costs the same as before (i.e. free) and publishers look like shocked pikachu's (not linked in case of charges...)
Make a small (tiny) charge so that Google continues the status quo, users are happy and publishers get some money. Scrapping a few tens of millions off Google keeps everyone happy for now. Unless other groups are planning the same raid, the free Google money won't last forever.