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Below: Writing was the medium that held the culture together in our past. Today readers and non-readers alike are distracted from thoughtful discourse in national affairs by electronic media.

Issues of politics and life are now presented as 30 to 60 second sound bytes on radio, telephone, and television. It's in the nature of electronic media to present fragmented information as disconnected short topics, accompanied by music, slogans, icons, and colorful commercials.

Print and writing is the social basis for propositional, reflective discourse. Print connects ideas to each other for those who read, and it provides a rational basis for law, democracy, and civil liberty. The rational services of print and writing cannot be provided by electronic media.

Half the population is now classified as illiterate. For them, the thought-inducing services of print are cheerfully displaced by entertaining news and show business. Public information on TV is in brief clips, always moving on to something else, or it is clicked off.

Despite massive government programs and volunteer agencies, the literacy problem grows worse by about 2.4 million persons each year. (Hunter and Harman, Adult Illiteracy in the US.)

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