In Democracy Without Journalism? Victor Pickard argues that we're overlooking the core roots of the crisis. By uncovering degradations caused by run-amok commercialism, he brings into focus the historical antecedents, market failures, and policy inaction that led to the implosion of commercial journalism and the proliferation of misinformation through both social media and mainstream news. The problem isn't just the loss of journalism or irresponsibility of Facebook, but the very structure upon which our profit-driven media system is built. The rise of a "misinformation society" is symptomatic of historical and endemic weaknesses in the American media system tracing back to the early commercialization of the press in the 1800s. While professionalization was meant to resolve tensions between journalism's public service and profit imperatives, Pickard argues that it merely camouflaged deeper structural maladies. Journalism has always been in crisis. The market never supported the levels of journalism--especially local, international, policy, and investigative reporting--that a healthy democracy requires. Today these long-term defects have metastasized.In this book, Pickard presents a counter-narrative that shows how the modern journalism crisis stems from media's historical over-reliance on advertising revenue, the ascendance of media monopolies, and a lack of public oversight. He draws attention to the perils of monopoly control over digital infrastructures and the rise of platform monopolies, especially the "Facebook problem." He looks to experiments from the Progressive and New Deal Eras--as well as public media models around the world--to imagine a more reliable and democratic information system. The book envisions what a new kind of journalism might look like, emphasizing the need for a publicly owned and democratically governed media system. Amid growing scrutiny of unaccountable monopoly control over media institutions and concerns about the consequences to democracy, now is an opportune moment to address fundamental flaws in US news and information systems and push for alternatives. Ultimately, the goal is to reinvent journalism.
Research indicates that the reach of fake news websites is limited to small parts of the population. On the other hand, data demonstrate that large proportions of the public know about notable fake news stories and believe them. These findings imply the possibility that most people hear about fake news stories not from fake news websites but through their coverage in mainstream news outlets. Thus far, only limited attention has been directed to the role of mainstream media in the dissemination of disinformation. To remedy this, this article synthesizes the literature pertaining to understand the role mainstream media play in the dissemination of fake news, the reasons for such coverage and its influences on the audience.