America’s once-mighty news media institutions are in decline, with network news shows losing viewers and newspapers suffering steep drops in circulation. They have lost prestige and much of the public’s trust. Is the era of Big Media over?
It’s premature to write an obituary, but there’s no question that America’s news media—the newspapers, newsmagazines, and television networks that people once turned to for all their news—are experiencing what psychologists might call a major life passage. They’ve seen their audiences shrink, they’ve had to worry about vigorous new competitors, and they’ve suffered more than a few self-inflicted wounds—scandals of their own making. They know that more and more people have lost confidence in what they do. To many Americans, today’s newspaper is irrelevant, and network news is as compelling as whatever is being offered over on the Home Shopping Network. Maybe less.
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Terry Eastland is the publisher of The Weekly Standard and editor of Freedom of Expression in the Supreme Court: The Defining Cases (2000).more from this author >>