Democracy cannot function or survive without a sufficient medium by which citizens remain informed and engaged in public policy debates.
Current public diplomacy and foreign policy making reduces the role of American citizens to mere spectators. The USIA's model of democracy and the free market is promoted as the superpower version of economic globalization, packaged and ready for shipping to clients throughout the world. In this version, foreign capital flows freely while the movement of people, particularly the world's poor, is strictly controlled. Such a commercial package speaks first and foremost for government 'partners,' the Fortune 500 corporations, which are the primary beneficiaries as well as the bankrollers of the American political process. This is a packaged story of America that is incomplete and undemocratic. Where do workers and communities fit into the story? How do private citizens play a part in building dialogue across cultures?
Much of our media now are so image-rich and content-poor that they just serve to capture the eye, manipulate our emotions, and short-circuit our impulses. The propaganda and advertising industries therefore function increasingly like adult obedience industries. They instruct their audiences in how to feel and what to think, and increasing numbers of people seem to accept and follow the cues without question.
The public's dilemma is to know how to consume the news with an ability to extract opinion from the simple facts and evidence... The best solution to the fact/opinion dilemma is to acquire more diverse information across the ideological and geological divide. If you find yourself relying on one source of information for the news, whether right or left, you are likely to be exposed to more opinion that reinforces rather than challenges your own.