Chris Edward's has an incredible post at Hacking Cough re: "the currency of news" where he talks about an AP-commissioned report on news consumption.
He makes a great point that what people tell researchers about how they read news is often very different from what they really do, and the truth is that most people avoid reading whatever makes them uncomfortable. This is confirmed by a quote from Limor Fix of Intel in the DACZine and few months ago.
"First of all, we want something else. We are now reading the news on the Internet. We are interacting with people on Facebook. I want it short, I want it on my Blackberry, I want it real-time, and I want to hear conflicting opinions from my social network. I don’t want to read an article that is two pages long that is last month’s news. The players that will survive will be the ones to give the new type of information."
This is not a person who spends a lot of time gathering and pondering information, especially that which is outside of her world. She doesn't want reflective journalism, but knee-jerk spewing on unvetted content, reinforced by her circle of friends.
And, unfortunately, that's a perfect description of humanity by and large.
The major selling point of the internet was that it was supposed to bring the world together in one large village. Seems to me it's breaking us up into tribes again.