I went to a talk by University of Illinois professor and media critic Robert McChesney the other night. McChesney spoke on various matters related to journalism, politics, and democracy: the Constitution's safeguards against imperial ambition, the distinction between freedom of the press and freedom of speech, the enormous decline in the numbers of professional journalists and D.C. bureaus, unreported stories (the growth of the American prison population), the roles of anonymous sources and public relations in journalism, the work of Free Press ("Reform media. Transform democracy."), the importance of Net Neutrality, the limited efficacy of political humor (the Soviet Union under Stalin, he noted, had great political humor), and an instructive story from Neil Postman about the importance of asking the right question.
One exact quotation about the present shape of things:
"Professional journalism makes politics a liars' paradise. . . . There's no accountability. It's a liars' paradise."