Dan Rather on the state of the press:
America’s biggest, most important news organizations have, over the past 25 years, fallen prey to merger after merger, acquisition after acquisition… to the point where they are, now, tiny parts of immeasurably larger corporate entities — entities whose primary business often has nothing to do with news. Entities that may, at any given time, have literally hundreds of regulatory issues before multiple arms of the government concerning a vast array of business interests.
These are entities that, as publicly held and traded corporations, have as their overall, reigning mandate: Provide a return on shareholder value. Increase profits. And not over time, not over the long haul, but quarterly.
One might ask just where the news fits into this model. And if you really need an answer, you can turn on your television, where you will see the following:
Political analysis reduced to in-studio shouting matches between partisans armed with little more than the day’s talking points.
Precious time and resources wasted on so-called human-interest stories, celebrity fluff, sensationalist trials, and gossip.
A proliferation of “news you can use” that amounts to thinly disguised press releases for the latest consumer products.