A mouthful of a quote and interesting if not also a bullseye slam from William Rivers Pitt:
American democracy ceases to function when people blither their votes into ballot boxes on the basis of opinions and ideologies that are swaddled in the beggar-rags of ubiquitous disinformation and bewilderingly muddled cant, but such is now and has long been this nation's common plight. Today's "free press," however, bears little resemblance to the conceived constitutional bulwark cherished by the Founders."
How do we criticize the religious Islamic regimes who censure free press when we ourselves are blighted by this bug?
"The ordinary common sense and sound judgment of the American people was systematically attacked and debased, the psyche of the entire population was ceaselessly pummeled by a paranoid muddle of murky suspicions and nebulous fears, in order to create a population of permanently frightened and thus easily led dupes. The grisly reports of inhuman acts of torture by Americans, the undermining of the Constitution and our rights, the program of domestic surveillance, all this and so much besides, fell by the wayside because Americans became programmed by the news media to accept the unacceptable, lest they be branded as traitors or killed outright by swarming hordes of al-Qaeda/insurgent/shoe-bombers."
I enter: Just because the propaganda machine has taken over, doesn't mean Americans who were fooled should be forgiven. Even a modicum of education should enable the average person to suspect fear-mongering and lies in order to win more power for the power-hungry. The average American continues to dismiss his/her own intellectuals in replace of political perversions of truth.
The beginning of the answer? Go back to literature. Read! Turn off the tube. Name your intellectuals. Why are they thus called? I say because they are not in bed with corporations who profit from their thinking. Because they challenge power structures.