“The media isn’t covering the thing I find important is focusing on this other thing I think is not important and they’re not covering it in the right way!”
“Let me tell you about the stuff they won’t DARE to cover in the mainstream media…”
“You can’t trust the LAMEstream — see what I did there — media because they’re biased toward that side I don’t agree with!”
Quotes courtesy of every pundit and coworker and person on Facebook who doesn’t know how to form a cohesive argument without vilifying an amorphous, faceless entity in the course of obfuscating an actual point.
Whenever I hear the term “media” when someone is speaking, my brain automatically tunes out the person by humming that Crash Test Dummies song from the 90s while plotting what I can drink, smoke, swallow, huff or inject to poison the brain cell unfortunate enough to carry the memory of this encounter. The term “mainstream media” is used as an ambiguous bludgeon to establish oneself/political ideology as the underdog.
I’m not sure how it is in other countries, but in the U.S. there is a fetishization of being the underdog. People are constantly trying to position themselves as simultaneously the victim and the strong. It’s exhausting. I would think that after decades of televised news we would all be tired of this trite non-argument and immediately dismiss any notion of mainstream media bias and coverup.
The complaints have been blanketing the talking-head space for a long time, complaining about the media on massive media outlets, refusing to define what it means because that might underline their hypocrisy. What, specifically, is the mainstream media? Television news? Okay, but does that include ALL televised news? What about internet news shows? Is it just network news or does cable count? What about print news? All print news, even those weird monthly newspapers that you can find on wire racks at the front doors of your favorite lunch spot (you know the ones I’m talking about, they usually call themselves something like “The Independent” and you can almost smell the patchouli oil cloud that engulfs the people who wrote the articles about how GMO’s are literally murdering your favorite pet)? Where does “mainstream” end? Who is invited under the tent of “media”?
If I’m/we’re being serious, the bobble heads vomiting this vitriolic palaver are referring to every televised outlet that doesn’t agree completely with what they are saying. We know it’s TV news specifically because nobody reads anymore. Don’t we all know that televised news isn’t journalism? Local news goes back-and-forth between 20 second clips of tragedy, some political distraction, and a puppy ice skating; while the 24 hour news of cable hyper-focuses on whatever dead horse they can superficially flog until it turns to a disgusting paste they try to spoon feed their viewers.
Let’s call it what it is: scapegoating. The media isn’t biased. Jon Stewart correctly pointed out that, “the bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict and laziness.” The media isn’t out to “get” any person on purpose. The media isn’t actively ignoring any one story (remember that when someone posts a meme on social media about how news outlets are ignoring a story, a simple Google search will prove otherwise) they either are reporting on it but your confirmation bias makes you blind to it, or it’s not a story that will get ratings. It’s all imaginary. There are enough news outlets now that you can get the news you’re looking for in the way you want to see it that if you don’t like “mainstream” media, you have the luxury of ignoring it, whiners.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others and the media–whatever “they” are–are just an easy way to deflect from one’s own deficiencies.