Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crisis in the News Media

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Christopher Hedges gives us some truly staggering statistics about how newspaper readership is declining in the US. In a publication called News Media in Crisis (published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover), he says that :
One reason for the decline of newspaper circulation is that 42 million Americans are illiterate and roughly 50 million more are semi-literate. What’s more 80 percent of U.S. households last year did not buy a book. ... The rates of illiteracy or semi-literacy - meaning people reading at a fourth or fifth grade level - now comprise one-third of the United States and even those who are technically literate opt into a system where they get most of their information through images - images which are of course skillfully manipulated.
He further believes that with the decline in newspapers and the decline of a literature culture, American society:
... is essentially walking into a world of moral nihilism, where we no longer embrace values.
The most chilling statistic of all though :
What we’re seeing is not just the death of newsprint or the death of print, but the rise in corporate hands of essentially the obliteration and destruction of our open society. Virtually everything that we see, read, and hear is now controlled by roughly eight corporations.


Oxymoron said...

The population of the USA is 300 million. If close to 100 million are illiterate or semi-illiterate, that's 1/3 of the population! That's mind-boggling! No wonder the US is going down the drain!

cathcoy said...

Ms. Bakar, please provide credible citations to support your statistics.