Let’s keep this thread going for the moment and write about news. Walter Lippmann was a respected writer and journalist of the early 20th century. His book, Public Opinion, gave us a wonderful definition of news. “News is a portrait of reality on which men ( citizens) can act.” Lippmann saw news as the fuel of democracy. News has utility, he argued. You cannot use your franchise well unless you understand your world.
Cronkite and many others understood and believed that. That value was built into broadcast news, codified by the FCC and taken seriously. When Reagan decontrolled broadcasting, the monkey was off broadcaster’s backs. They did not need to be told twice that they were free of public obligation.
The medium is largely an entertainment device now. And there is little sense of public responsibility today. Politicizing cable news and allowing networks to assume political identities is merely an extension of their efforts to manipulate the marketplace and search for revenue. Today, the purpose of news is to just make money.
Distressing? Yes. Structural? I am afraid so. I think the fake news label is largely a term used to muddy the waters and divide us. It should not be taken seriously. The news media is not our enemy. But news is not our friend either. It only is big business.