The Definition of “The Media”

I said I wasn’t going to blog any political reasoning (for now), but there is one quasi-political subject that I want to address – the media. Not to steal Bill Maher’s shtick, but we need a new rule: Members of the media can’t talk about the media as if they aren’t a part of it. I occasonally listen to as much talk radio as I can without throwing up (usually about five minutes). But beyond the obvious partisanship, the spewing hatred and the outright lying that goes on, there’s this thin veil of bullshit that somehow these radio shows are telling you “truth” that “the media” won’t. When Rush Limbaugh says something along the lines of “Here’s something the media won’t tell you” he is outright lying because he’s part of the media:

Media: A means of mass communication, such as newpapers, magazines, radio, or television.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Note the use of the word “radio” in the definition? Radio is, in fact, part of the media – go figure.

There’s this myth in this country that the media is liberal. Maybe it was back before consolidation, national syndication and 24-hour cable news networks, but it sure ain’t now. Rush and his cronies distance themselves from the concept of “the media” in order to keep that myth alive. The reality is that most of what passes for news and opinion in the media these days is more like carefully scripted partisan theatre intended to further their host’s own agenda rather than tell any of the actual truth.

Major kudos to Jon Stewart for pointing this out to the staff of CNN’s Crossfire.

Update: In the second to last paragraph above, I changed “host’s own conservative agenda” to simply “host’s own agenda”. I was momentarily guilty of the same type of partisan manipulation that I am accusing others of. It isn’t only conservatives that have an agenda. For example, Michael Moore has a pretty obvious liberal agenda and, as a filmmaker, is also a part of the media. Of course, Michael’s media efforts aren’t masquerading as the supposedly unbiased evening news.


First of all, I'm on your side, so please take this the right way. Second of all, it's Jon Stewart. And I like him, but he is a COMEDIAN! Hardly the worthy recipient of "major kudos" -- he is merely the flavor of the month. And he is in the media as well. Uh-oh...recursive... Thirdly, as you correctly say, Moore is not masquerading as the supposedly unbiased evening news. But neither is Limbaugh. Both pretend to be telling you "the truth", but like Stewart, they are primarily ENTERTAINERS, not newsmen.
I'm not sure I agree with you about Limbaugh. Certainly, Moore and Limbaugh both offer radically different versions of the "truth", but at least in Seattle Limbaugh appears on a radio station who's tagline is "News & Views you won't hear anywhere else." Also appearing on that radio statio is Bill O'Reilly who is nearly as conservative and also has a primetime show on Fox News. Sean Hannity is also on Fox News - both the TV cable network and radio network (at least in Seattle - I don't know about other markets).