The world gets neither better nor worse… just different. I’ve heard some formulation of this over and over and over applied to all variety of subjects in conversation with people who would rather recite a trite saying than engage even a thought experiment. The Christian is obligated to concede the world was better before the fall; that things have genuinely “gotten worse.”

This short snippet of a conversation with Bill O’Reilly in 2012 hopefully can serve as an example of things “getting worse” in America:

I’ll go so far as to suggest that listening to this conversation is like hearing a grown man talk with a boy. There’s the paternalistic desire to impart perspective and come to agreement, and the boy’s desire to be heard while ignoring the voice of authority. And hell, if anyone in journalism deserves authority it’s someone like Ted Koppel or his predecessors:

“I think that ideological coverage of the news, be it of the right or be it of the left, has created a political reality in this country which is bad for America. I think it’s made it difficult if not impossible for decent men and women in congress, on capitol hill, to reach across the aisle and find compromise. And if we can’t do that, Bill, we’re going to be in, and we have been, I think for the past few years, in a terrible situation in this country… It [cable news media] is a business and it’s operating as a business, and once upon a time you and I actually thought journalism was a calling.”

To understand how journalism could be a “calling” rather than simply a career requires an understanding of vocation. The traditional conception of vocation is understood through the Latin as a calling or summons. What Ted Koppel raises is this: Are we elevating, simply maintaining, or degenerating in the quality of our news? Who are the sort of people called to the profession of “journalist” today? How are they serving their neighbors?