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Americans have never been truly fond of their press Through the last decade however their disdain for the media establishment has reached new levels Americans believe that the media have become too arrogant cynical scandal-minded and destructive Public hostility shows up in opinion polls through comments on talk shows in waning support for news organizations in their showdowns with government officials and in many other ways The most important sign of public unhappiness may be a quiet consumers boycott of the press Year by year a smaller proportion of Americans goes to the trouble of reading newspapers or watching news broadcasts on TV This is a loss not only for the news media but also for the public as a whole Ignoring the news leaves people with no way to prepare for trends they dont happen to observe themselves no sense of what is happening in other countries or even other parts of their own town no tools with which to make decisions about public leaders or policies Evidently many people feel that these losses represent a smaller sacrifice than being exposed to what the news offers The big American institutions that have failed in the recent past often wasted years blaming others for their problems The US military was near collapse in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam war Many members of the military felt stabbed in the back and blamed their problems on weak political leaders and ungrateful fellow citizens The Big Three auto makers of Detroit with their dinosaur-like vehicles were unprepared in the 1970s for the sudden rise in world oil prices or for competition from Japan They complained about the unfairness of oil producers in the Middle East regulators in Washington and car makers in Japan There was some truth in such complaints But the larger truth is that these institutions reversed their decline only when they recognized and corrected defects in their own internal values In the
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