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...it is my belief that the polarization of opinion and recasting of facts by the media actually serve to create conflicting worldviews in the minds of the American public, undermining the capacity for productive individual-to-individual discussion of public policy, and enhancing the role of establishment hierarchies in their control of the avenues of societal change. There is an active attempt to engineer a 'Balkanization of consensus'.
The role of the demagogic media in this process is particularly interesting. Strongly opinionated and vocal 'opinion-makers' attempt to lead the public, not by distracting them, but by engaging them, with appealingly simplistic world-views and emotionally charged conclusions. Once a listener or viewer embraces the viewpoint of a particular source, and frames their opinions in the terms offered by that source, rational discussion is impaired. Debates with those of other opinions and viewpoints often degenerate: understanding is prevented by barriers of incompatible 'spin', discussion is replaced by the lobbing of slogans and catch-phrases.
And so they would control us. But is it working?
The answer: NO!
And not only among the 'intellectual' or 'awakened'!
The American Public is, as are humans everywhere, resilient and adaptable. WE LEARN. One need only look at the ever-increasing tide of dissent, from ALL points of the political spectrum, against the actions and supposed trustworthiness of the public's 'representatives'. The Public is not 'distracted' one iota! The expression of the Public's political concerns is being suppressed and subverted!
WE NO LONGER BLINDLY TRUST THE MEDIA. Consider again, carefully, the words of Dr Castonguay, from the survey I cited earlier:
“The fact that an astonishing percentage of Americans see biases and partisanship in their mainstream news sources suggests an active and critical consumer of information in the U.S.” 
That same survey shows that in 2007, amazingly, less that 20% of the American Public believe that even "most" of the Media's news product is trustworthy, down from 27% in 2003.
Less than 20% of the ENTIRE AMERICAN PUBLIC, of all education levels and walks of life, believe there is even a majority of unbiased truth present in the media. Eyes are open, and opening.
And yet, the perception of an easily-swayed, gullible and distractable American Public remains. WHY? Surely the media companies are aware of the truth of how their product is perceived. I return to the concept of the 'Balkanization of consensus':
The MYTH of a DISTRACTED AND UNCONCERNED PUBLIC serves to UNDERMINE the Public's faith that political change can be effected through emergent coordination of concerned individuals, UNCONTROLLED BY ESTABLISHED HIERARCHIES OF POWER.
The PERCEIVED barrier of overwhelming indifference serves to maintain a state of DESPAIR.
The American Media does NOT distract the American Public. Those in power only want us to THINK they do.