Thoughts on the media
I've been doing some 14th Amendment research, reading newspapers of 1866-68. One thing is striking: they actually reported news then. The change has been so gradual that we can't see it (I've seen the alternative my entire life). But back then the New York Times would report, say:
A concise summary of what happened to the 14th Amendment that day in Congress. Rep. ___ moved to change it by adding these words, Rep. ___ opposed, arguing this way.
On days with really important action -- e.g., the day when Sen. Howard introduced it, with a speech, in the Senate -- they'd devote a page or more to setting out a transcript, or near-transcript paraphrase, of the floor speeches. The Times then didn't even have an editorial page!! The closest I could find was two issues (out of many I read) that had a long letter to the editor, like a modern op-ed, arguing about the amendment.
Today, of course, it'd be all their interpretation of events. With lots of articles on how this side was trying to spin it this way, and the other side was hoping to do something else, and nothing approaching giving you what was really said and done.
Someday I'll try to find out when the transition came. Might even be with advent of radio and TV, when it was hardly feasible to give details and the talking head became the rule. Perhaps that carried over into the print media? Or maybe not.
I've read Arizona Territory newspapers of the 1870s-1890s, and they were much the same. All were quite partisan, but their version of that consisted of printing their party's platform. Again, telling you what happened rather than interpreting it. They made no secret of their partisan nature. Today's Arizona Republic was then the Arizona Republican, and there was, if I recall, a Tucson Democrat. And these were published by people, not institutions. Often a paper would have an editorial quoting a rival paper's editorial and arguing it was all pap.
UPDATE: Yup, reporters were more respected then. I recall reading of the Civil War ... at one point Grant needs to get a message to President Lincoln, so he just sends it with a reporter who is going to DC. He adds a verbal message. The reporter only reveals that years after the event; Grant told him that it was for Lincoln alone. After Shiloh, I think, Grant for the only time gets blind drunk and passes out. A reporter (with whom he was riding) throws his coat over him to hide his stars if anyone rides by, and only reveals the event long after the war is over. A reporter is within earshot of Grant giving orders to his commanders, and is chastised -- you're not supposed to listen in at this level! Nobody thought anything unusual of a reporter traveling with army headquarters, it's just that there's an unwritten rule you won't actually listen in to Grant and Meade giving orders for the day. No need for interviews: you're there when everything is happening, out riding and drinking with them, etc.