I was reading through Kevin Makice's blog post on things that happened in 1986, and i happened across the fact that Fox News launched in that year.
As a sort of informal research study on news media, i have been watching CNN and Fox News daily for the last several years, and believe i have noticed an decrease in the quality of political discourse on both of these stations, as well as between everyday people.
I have also noticed an increase in the amount, speed and scale of information that has been hammering people in that space of time. I haven't dug deeply into the empirical studies to confirm this, but one study (pdf) suggests that American per capita time spent consuming information has risen nearly 60 percent from 1980 levels – from 7.4 hours per day in 1960, to 11.8 in 2008.
Personally, i would have thought that more information would have contributed to better discourse since 1986, but i think we are seeing the opposite. I have some ideas on why this might be, but what do you all think?