Modern communications, by giving everyone a chance to be heard, were supposed to democratize public space and promote social unity. But a growing number of analysts argue that public discourse is at a new low. Are they correct? Yes. Newspapers and broadcasters in the past represented a variety of views, but also exercised a minimal quality control over what was circulated. The internet and fragmented media of today, in contrast, give equal space to crackpot notions and enable the development of niche audiences safely cocooned in their own echo chambers.
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