The gulf between network news of 1968 and cable news of today is dramatic, far more than the shift in, say, a typical sitcom. The Dick Van Dyke show is quaint, but it has a lot in common with a sitcom of today. The news, on the other hand, is completely different.
A generation ago, delivering the news was a civic duty. Now it’s a profit center.
The quick edits, the crawling text, the noise–it all exists to remind us of a thrilling movie, not of real life.
And the clickbaiting reality of online news multiplies that.
But real life isn’t like that. An actual house-fire or street demonstration is boring compared to what we’re shown in the media.
Does the increase in drama, tension and fear that these production values create produce anything of value?
Would it be possible to be an informed citizen without it?
Even more so: Is it possible to be an informed citizen with it?