Authored by Matt Taibbi via taibbi.substack.com
From a speech given this week to the McCourtney Institute of Democracy, Penn State University:
We live in a time of incredible political division. Many of us have had the experience of talking to someone whose idea of reality seems to be completely different from our own. It’s become difficult to have an argument in the traditional sense. People with differing opinions are often no longer even working from the same commonly-accepted set of facts. It’s a problem that has a lot to do with changes in how we receive and digest information, especially through the news media.
I’ve worked in the press for thirty years. In my lifetime the core commercial strategy of the news business has changed radically. At the national level, companies have moved from trying to attract one big audience to trying to capture and retain multiple small audiences.
Fundamentally, this means the press has gone from selling a vision of reality they perceive to be acceptable to a broad mean, to selling division. For technological, commercial, and political reasons this instinct has become more exaggerated with time, snowballing toward the dysfunctional state we’re in today.
A story that illustrates how the old system worked involves the first major national news broadcast, the CBS radio program anchored by the legendary Lowell Thomas.
History buffs will know Thomas. His was the iconic voice on those old WWII newsreels:
Read the rest here.