You hit the nail on the head when you identified where the alignment of economic incentives are (not in producing quality content).
There is an implied assumption in this (excellent) essay — that Americans or anyone else actually give a shit about good journalism / news / content and are deprived mostly from business models gone awry.
Surely there are learned traits related to desiring quality content, but a more likely scenario is that journalism and media have always just been a satisfaction of our primal desires. Technology has altered media to the point where our biological tendencies are now being efficiently exploited, eliminating the less stimulating (and higher quality) models along the way.
Similar to how genetic traits that improve reproductive success are spread (relatively) quickly through a population, media that exploits our tendencies will replicate at a faster rate than media that does not, barring some type of intervention that changes the incentives.