Paul, this sounds like the journalists’ equivalent of the outlook that is confronted in “Racism Without Racists” by the sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva — the beat reporters and copy writers don’t have to try and do more than ‘get it right’ for the overall system to still be incentivized towards sensationalism and have its orientation be around entertainment and profit rather than around being the Fourth Estate. The mis-orientation is baked right in.
Again, your piece asks us to put the blame on laziness and ignorance, so I ask you: were the staffers in the supposed golden age of journalism somehow more human than those today? Was Edward R. Murrow and his generation cut from a different cloth, that didn’t include bad habits? I don’t think that people’s character has somehow devolved, but I am pretty sure that the institutional structures have replaced Newsroom-as-loss-leader with Newsroom-as-profit-center.