I remember very specifically early into the last administration's reign that there was a massive push in all of the ever-consolidating media companies to "clean house". Investigative journalism as we used to know it just outright dropped dead. The general tendency of the media to question the government and to perform critical analysis on press releases before just reading from them as a script simply went away.
Part of that was in step with the metaphorical and as I remember ACTUAL flag-waving that took place in pathological amounts starting in September 2001. No one wanted to question "our side" and to do so became "unpatriotic" in ridiculous measure - a sentiment that was echoed to great effect to stave off ANY questioning of government policy for the next seven years.
Interestingly when you stop asking questions publicly for that long - the public stops asking the questions. We have an entire generation of people who now just take every press release at face value and don't even know why that might not be a good idea.
What's more, the chilling effect on 'dissent' of any type has translated into the entertainment industry. The explosion of police/military-oriented shows, movies, "documentaries", etc. has warranted an entire new Channel on cable television.
I am sick to death of choosing between Disney-child-safe and Pro-Army-Crime-Drama as my categories. I am tired of morality plays and glorifying people in uniforms beating other people up. And I feel insulted every time a story devolves into the ever-more-popular hidden message of "Faith>Science"
Overused Trope of the Decade: Anyone who is smart is either portrayed as completely lacking common sense, as a mad scientist, or gay. (See CSI, Eureka, and Big Bang Theory for examples)
Eight years of this crap was enough. Someone let a few hippies out of the secret concentration camps and let them write a few scripts or something.