Thank you every so much for your kind and supportive words, ALaw. :-)
Vapid and vacuous isn’t the preserve of the English-speaking world either. We have garbage in the Francosphere too, but if you look at French media for example, there’s still a strong and proud intellectual backbone. We think nothing of expounding at length about politics and social issues and getting into heated debates. Often in book format, even. (Check out the work of Édouard Louis as an example of this, if you don’t know him already.)
Sure, the lowest common denominator exists as well (and celebrity rags do, too!) but it certainly doesn’t prevail.
In contrast, America seems to oversimplify everything, avoid analysis, and embrace news cycles that are best suited to an audience with the attention span of a goldfish.
I find this deeply alienating, which is why most of my news sources remain foreign, namely British, Canadian, French, German… you name it. I find the BBC does a far better job of covering America than America does through the work of their US and UK staff (The excellent Nick Bryant springs to mind, and of course Anthony Zurcher.)
As you can see, I have some strong opinions but I don’t think many people want to hear about — or indeed care about — journalism, sadly. And this is extremely problematic in the US, with the tragic consequences we all know.