I was sitting at lunch the other day when I noticed the feed from a cable news network; flashing on the screen was the now ubiquitous “Breaking News”. That the story which filled the screen was hours old seemed of little importance…the network had nothing new to report anyway. And which cable news feed isn’t an important fact, as all news (and all sports as well) have adopted the same template for filling 24 hours of programming. That moment of typically lazy corporate reporting was emblematic of the dire threat facing our democracy. Rather than using the time available to explore a broad range of issues in depth, these 24 hour networks focus instead on going shallow on a narrow range of issues.
I believe this is a case where less is most assuredly not more.
But the outlets where Americans get their information are governed by the same rules of perverse incentive as all other aspects of our economy. And in the 21st Century, every information entity outside of PBS and NPR are owned and operated by for-profit corporations. Now I am a capitalist, and I embrace and endorse the need for corporate structures in our economy. But we the people must begin to understand and accept the true challenges faced by the convergence of democracy and capitalism.