Holy shit that article was depressing. I read the whole thing anyway because I've been amazed by how sophisticated and insightful Koppel has been in his writing and interviews since he left his anchor position, which I guess was forever ago, now. The network news anchors seemed like vacuous talking heads at times, but in fact, in Koppel's era at least, they were super-experienced, super-knowledgeable, life-long journalists who had reached the very apex of their field. (Kind of ironic that the apex involved them doing little-to-no journalism and instead simply reading off teleprompters for 25 minutes a day in front of a camera. Sorry, digression.)
I'm no authority on these issues, but I'm just old enough to remember the pre-cable-television United States in the early 80s, when a sizable majority of the public watched one of the three national news shows every evening, preceded by a local news show with crappy production values. Those plus your local newspaper gave you all the info that you or anyone else had daily access to, about the world and about the rest of the United States outside of your local community. All the other news sources that existed -- news magazines and big city newspapers, basically -- were far less timely or accessible, arriving days or months after publication. Radio was still universally accessible but well into its decline and largely ignored by the public as a source of news. Oh, and I guess people with friends or family outside of their community could get anecdotal info from phone conversations, but it would just be local information, since everyone had the same national news sources.
Koppel's article drew connections between so many of modern society's problems that I hesitate to agree with everything he said, but the conclusions he drew seemed depressingly spot-on, from my limited perspective. The guy knows what he's talking about, too. Obviously.
But hell, I'm left wondering what's the point of such a doom-and-gloom article. I think he's right about everything he says, but he himself points out all the reasons why there's no undoing the negative changes in the national media, even if more people became aware of them by reading his article.
I really wish he'd said something about some positive developments in the media, changes that could benefit society, because there's bound to be some ... uh, right? Sure wish I could think of them, though. (Little help, anybody?)