As the commercial model of journalism is in freefall collapse, those remaining news media franchises have become playthings for billionaires, generally of value for political purposes, as old-fashioned monopoly newspapers still carry considerable influence.
The United States went through this type of journalism at the turn of the last century and it produced a massive political crisis that led eventually to the creation of professional journalism, to protect the news from the dictates of the owners.
Today professionalism has been sacrificed to commercialism, and the resources for actual reporting have plummeted.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the desperation facing American journalism and democracy better than the fact we are reduced to praying we get a benevolent billionaire to control our news, when history demonstrates repeatedly such figures are in spectacularly short supply, and the other times we relied on such a model crashed and burned.
America meets an existential crisis with an absurd response.
No wonder this is a golden age for satire.
We have to do better.
Robert McChesney is the author of many books on the media including, Digital Disconnect and, with John Nichols, of The Death and Life of American Journalism and most recently, with Nichols, Dollarocracy.