All anyone knew back then was whether a story was good reporting, or not. Today, every single story, at just about every outlet in the country, can and is evaluated instantly based on Internet traffic, Twitter retweets, Facebook likes, and highly-specific overnight ratings.
The tail is now completely wagging the dog. The popularity of a report is now ALL the matters and it has now become part of the news media’s DNA to evaluate what stories to do, and how to do them, based solely on how popular they are likely to be.
This means that popular myths get routinely elevated over unpopular realities, and it has reduced the truth itself from a heavyweight champion, to a 98-pound weakling. Consequently, the news media has been caught with their hand in the “fake news” cookie jar many times and trust in their credibility has understandably eroded dramatically. As I have often said, if CNN wanted people to trust it when it came to the Trump/Russia saga, perhaps they should have thought twice about obsessively chasing a missing Malaysian plane for months straight back in the spring of 2014.
Finally, all of this has occurred simultaneously with the most dramatic fragmentation of all of our media in the history of the United States, if not the word. There have never been more national outlets from which people can get their “news,” almost literally constructed to appeal to their personal beliefs and sensibilities.