So, What Should We Call The Media, Anyway?
Many of us have taken to calling the media establishment the "MSM," or "Mainstream Media." But is that a fair and properly descriptive monicker to bestow upon them? A New York Times Blogger pondered that very question on July 21 in a "The Caucus" blog entry -- one that was a barely disguised effort to highlight and advertise the opinion of one Markos Moulitsas of the DailyKos.
Still, regardless of the origin of the question, it is an interesting point to ponder. With the failing of newspapers country wide, with the ever falling audience that the big three TV networks are seeing for their news product, and with the corresponding rise of the Internet as a news source, is the old media still properly to be called "mainstream"? Does it still represent the most common way that America gets its news, thereby deserving of the term "mainstream"?
Katherine Q. Seelye of The Caucus blog quotes Kos laughably to the effect of Kos taking the occasion to flatter himself and his nutrooter compatriots that they are they mainstream.
We, on the other hand, are firmly on the mainstream on just about every major issue facing our country, and our numbers are growing. We aren't outside the mainstream, we are representatives of the mainstream, and the country is embracing what we're selling.
Hardly. But he should get high points for his comedy stylings.
To prove his wild claim, Kos cites some stats that shows that people admitting to being Republican have fallen in numbers. But this is of recent origin and can hardly be assumed to be a permanent aspect of how Americans see themselves, at least not any more than conservatives can assume they've won the debate over ideology because many of today's issues are followed along, or leaning toward their principles in the rhetoric of the national debate (Abortion, 2nd Amendment, tax policy, etc.).
Still, Kos' delusional and grandiose assessment aside, the question remains: if the old press is no longer "mainstream," what are they?
Kos himself offers "traditional media" which I find unsatisfactory for the very reason he finds "MSM" unacceptable. Kos says that calling the old media "MSM" might assume in contrast that Internet news sources are "fringe" sources and that the old media is more mainstream. But his replacement term, that of "traditional media," does no better at defining terms. After all, if Kos thinks "Mainstream Media" is not a good term because it casts Internet news as outside the ordinary, how does "traditional" fit any better under the same logic? The opposite of traditional is untraditional, it should be pointed out. But, Kos does have a point. If the regular, old fashioned media is no longer the dominant form of news, then shouldn't we hang them with a name that better fits their lowered status?
There actually are some better terms we could be using. "Left-Wing Media," or LWM, is a good, derisory one. I've already called them "old media" in this piece and that one fits as well and I favor that one, as it happens. Conversely, I already call Internet news the "new media," so it is a natural fit to call TV and newspapers the "old media."
Whatever we call them, it should be something that befits their less than supreme status.
And now we can deal with Kos' last bit of foolishness proving what sort of blinkered guy he really is.
The right wing needs to co-opt or destroy the traditional media because, quite frankly, reality isn't a friend of conservative ideology. The last thing they need is anyone reporting "the truth". Instead, they need to create their own alternate reality to justify their beliefs. And any bit of reality that doesn't conform to their rigid conservative ideology is "liberal".
This from the website that attempted to destroy Joe Leiberman because he wasn't sufficiently "liberal" enough? This from the side of the political aisle that sponsors extremist groups like Media Matters? This from the party that created the Clinton attack machine in the 90s?
This silliness proves that Markos Moulitsas is not only insufferably unable to see past his own hate-filled ideology, he is a man of little ability to grow as a person. He will wallow in his hate unwilling, if not completely unable, to look inside himself, see his foibles and excesses, and make of himself a better person.
The ancients used to say that one must know oneself, that a life unexamined was one not worth living. We call it introspection. But whatever it is, Markos Moulitsas doesn't seem to possess it. And anyone who blindly marches forward in life never looking inward is a small man, indeed.
(Photo credit: http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com)