Well as you are the Crazy Old Lady, you might have better knowledge than I on this point, but just exactly when was it that the shift in news reporting took place? As I look through some of Jerry Clark's tabulations of the reporting of "strange" events from poltergeists and monsters, to airships and the sudden disappearances of people while out on summer walks, I see a very healthy, matter of fact and quizzical approach to the weirdly wonderful. Sure some of these may have been manufactured for sales, but the sheer number of odd reports across the turn of the century and into the modern era is quite staggering.
Equally impressive are the very straight forward reports of the foo fighters from the early 40's. I suppose that as soon as Kenneth Arnold had his sighting and flying saucers represented an "intelligence" or a controlled air phenomenon beyond the control of The Powers That Be, that ridicule seemed to enter the picture. The cold war also appeared to demand an assertion of rationalism over the wayward thinking of the populous, especially the youth and any counter culture leanings, be they communist or drug induced altered states, that they engaged in. Thinking "straight" had its own demands - a social control agenda was definitely well under way in America by that point.
But like a disease, thinking straight, seems to have spread with rapidity, so much so, that any deviance, such as hearing voices, may have prompted the desire to drug children into catatonic stupors when these may be perfectly normal experiences. As we debate and discuss here on the forum, that line between truly natural and mundane experiences vs. paranormal events is where all the fiction lies.
To be honest I blame the puritanical strains that gave birth to America. Those same patriarchal power asserters that wanted to burn the women folk for gathering in the woods away from the men to share their own wisdoms, that's where the real oppression was borm IMHO. Same stuff going on today. (yes, I may be doubtful about most things claimed paranormal, but I do wish we had a more open minded public dialogue on a lot of things classified as "deviant.")