Furthermore, how does one measure the intensity of news coverage? For example, how does one compare the mainstream media’s virtual obsession with Mitt Romney’s tax returns, when measured against their general lack of interest, save for financially-oriented publications, in the Federal Reserve’s latest round of Quantitative Easing (QE3)? In reality, Romney’s tax returns amount to little more than the stuff of water-cooler conversations. On the other hand, Ben Bernanke’s debasement of the dollar affects every American forced to cope with rising gas and food prices as a result. In the bigger scheme of things, the latter story is far more important. Yet there is little doubt the former will receive far more attention.
The Gallup survey notes that Americans’ high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry.” That might be the understatement of the year. An untrustworthy media may be the single greatest threat this nation is currently facing. If Americans remain generally misinformed about the problems this nation faces, or remain captive to clever sound bytes designed to eliminate critical thinking, freedom itself is at stake. On the bright side, Gallup also notes that the overall malfeasance of the mainstream media provides “an opportunity for others outside the ‘mass media’ to serve as information sources that Americans do trust.”
Without trust there is nothing. As it stands now, those with an interest in what is really going on cannot rely on any single source to give them the truth. In fairness, Americans themselves must also do a better job in making the distinction between genuine, fact-based news coverage, and media that promote an agenda. As for the media establishment itself, there is no excuse for muddying the waters between the two.
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