In the late 1800s Western Union was able to alter the results of a presidential election (reference: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires - recommended!)
A similar situation exists today in the USA: all major news sources provide a very slanted pro-corporate agenda that results in a large percentage of the population simply not understanding things like the benefits of a social safety net (a trade of tax money to keep society civil and safer), how we incarcerate a much larger percentage of our population than other countries, that Wikileaks has released a very small percentage of the diplomatic cables and those cables that have been released have been redacted to minimize the chance of putting people in danger, that we spend as much on our military as the rest of the world combined, how military spending enriches only a very small number of powerful people, the level of corruption in Congress (both democrats and republicans), etc.
It is sad that better sources of news come from the Comedy Central channel (for example, The Daily Show), Al Jazeera, foreign services like German Der Spiegel, small companies like Salon.com, etc.
The USA is in rapid decline. Part of the decline is due to failing infrastructure, large scale corruption, massive military costs, and also a much less informed population. All of these means to decline are fueled by a tightly controlled dishonest news media.