Ah, the public interest and the public airwaves. It seems like such a quaint concept in this era of so much media (muck media?) coming at us in seemingly endless ways.

But a welcome reminder that some people still give serious thought to public-interest issues arrived on Monday in a easily digestible but kinda disturbing five-page report, "Television in an Era of Fundamental Change," from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia in Athens, aka, the outfit that gives out broadcasting’s prestigious Peabody Awards. (More about them below.)

Report culled from the inaugural Peabody/Loyless seminar at the U. of Georgia is notable for its matter-of-fact discussion of the "post-broadcast" era. Among its central findings is that the proliferation of media and information options has resulted in "the creation of a giant media echo chamber" in which viewers "increasingly see and hear only those perspectives and points of view that reverberate from their preconceived beliefs and attitudes." (No wonder I’m highlighting this study — I’ve been ranting about phenomenon for a long time!)

Instead of becoming more enlightened, we’re just smug, armed with a little information and a lot of attitude.

"Democratic discussion, deliberation and debate are undercut by a process of self-validation and simplistic dismissal of alternatives," report asserts. ("The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report," they’re talkin’ ’bout you.)

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