“My 89-year-old grandmother now watches the evening broadcast with a rosary in her hands, as she prays for the world portrayed onscreen. Television news drives viewers to the point of utter hopelessness, when it should convince them to act.”
In light of the current presidential administration’s accusations of “fake news,” many Americans worry about the security of press freedom. With White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer literally declaring war on the media, this may seem to be an existential threat to the future of American journalism. However, the news media have brought these troubles upon themselves.
Perhaps 50 years ago, Spicer and his boss, President Donald Trump, would have been cast away and labeled as conspiracists. Their radical message would fail to gain traction with Americans who generally trusted what they read in the morning paper or saw on the evening news. Back then, the news was actually newsworthy. The media reported on matters that helped citizens steer their democracy or informed their understanding of the world around them. I don’t mean to romanticize the journalism of the past because surely, it had its own serious institutional issues…
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