Somehow, the United States survived and prospered for over 100 years without mass media and the news being controlled by an oligarchy of three networks and a handful of major newspapers. Yet Jeffrey Brown (co-anchor of PBS News Hour) laments that "a fragmented news" makes for a fragmented nation that is more difficult to control. From McClatchy:
A generation ago, before cable news channels and internet news sources, most people got their news from the same small collection of sources: three major TV networks and a hometown newspaper or two, Brown said. People gathered around their televisions for the assassination of a president, a walk on the moon, and other major events.Echo says, "How do we hear other views when the news is controlled by a like-minded cabal of journalists?"
"It was an age of mass media news, one audience sharing a common experience," Brown said. "For the most part, the mass audience experienced such things together."
Brown, featured speaker for the university's Fall Family Open House Saturday, Oct. 27, contrasted that world with the one we live in today, in which Americans can restrict themselves to cable news stations and internet news sources they find most congenial.
"For the most part, we now live in the world of niches," Brown said.
He acknowledged that the availability of more choices was a good thing, but also noted that the change seems to be part of a far more divided and bitter political atmosphere.
"If we only connect with like-minded people, how do we hear other views?" Brown asked. "It's hard not to feel it has some relationship to the divisions around us."