Agenda setting, the oh-so-important task left to the elites is where they decide what the issues are and how they are going to frame them. Agenda setting is not, in itself, a bad thing. If you have a responsive government, then the agenda should line up pretty closely with the needs and wants of the people. But if, for instance, the King of France has decided that the agenda is going to be getting gold plated window latches at Versailles instead of making sure the peasants can eat, then you've got a problem.
One of the basic pieces of American democracy is supposed to be freedom of the press. While, yes, getting to say the truth is important, freedom of the press is supposed to keep government responsive to the needs of the people by reporting what the needs are.
But when all media is owned by a handful of elites with only their pockets in mind, we have lost that crucial bit of society that keeps government responsive.
And Lambert has a handy little chart to show just how unresponsive the elite media is to our needs and wants.
Thankfully, social media can tell us where the elite media is failing us. Does anyone seriously read or watch the domestic news for actual news anymore? I'm down to reading McClatchy and The NYT (and I only read THE NYT to get pissed off at what they aren't covering).