At least, if you credit a National Academy of Sciences study on the subject:
Iyengar and Massey (hereafter I & M) are convinced, in any event, that the revolution in media over the last three decades means that the world is sinking into abject falsehood. In the 1970s, as they relate, media were controlled by a few players: “really only a handful of newspapers, magazines, and television broadcasts.” National and international news was dominated by wire services like Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI):
In addition to the small number of sources, broadcast news was regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which required broadcasters to reserve a small share of airtime to cover matters of public interest; under the FCC’s “fairness doctrine” they had to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. Consequently, the major broadcasters all presented much the same information to the public.
I & M make quite clear that they wish such a tidy arrangement prevailed today.
Having been in news all my life, I remember the era all too well. A few people were gatekeepers who decided what was news and everyone else was shouting into a void. As I wrote earlier this year,
Back in the 60s, if the media decided to bury something, it usually stayed buried. If they decided to push something, it got pushed. How many people do you think knew, during that era, that John Kennedy and his brother Robert were both sexually intimate with screen goddess Marilyn Monroe? The story was buried by the few people with access to it, possibly to protect the “Camelot” legacy that quickly arose after John’s tragic assassination in 1963.
Maybe it didn’t matter. But most people today are freer to decide that for themselves.
I & M mournfully recount the revolution, beginning with the advent of cable television and talk radio and the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine (1987) which, in their view, “opened the door to the dissemination of ideologically biased content.” Denyse O’Leary, ” More. Science confronts credibility issues?” at Mind Matters
The bots and trolls followed. All is bedlam. Have fun and don’t spill your coffee.
See also: AI social media could totally manipulate you
The true cost of “free” social media
Are social media companies violating anti-trust laws?