I think that it is much simpler than you imply.
Millions of people post comments everyday on the internet, like we do here. It represents not satisfied desire for a meaningful conversation about matters of public concern.
In my young years, I was a political writer during the hard times in Poland, when still under the Soviet dominance. Using a little freedom we had, a few major publications conducted much more authentic public debates than we have here in the United States, with all the nominally free press.
The problem is with the calcified media structures, colluding with big money and politics, and — on the top of it — paralyzed by the constrains of syndication. I write about it on the example of the WSJ: https://medium.com/@hak1010/it-is-editors-fault-28e22a279dcc.
I believe that social media technology offers many venues for a successful challenge to conventional media giants. So far, all new social media venues, Medium including, mimic the failed format of the mainstream media. The industry has matured for the Uber moment.