News & Opinion » Editor's Note

'The Media'? No Such Thing

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Ever since John McCain announced his running-mate decision--which resulted in a media firestorm that can be summed up with the words, "Palin? Really?!"--Republicans have been running around criticizing "the media," like a bunch of talking-point-injected simpletons.

The media are being unfair to Sarah Palin because she's a woman. The media are being harder on Palin because she's not a "Beltway insider," and therefore, reporters don't know her. The media are too liberal. The media are saying mean things about us, waaah!

Here's a tip: Whenever you hear/read someone blame, criticize or critique "the media" as a whole, 19 times out of 20, that speaker/writer is completely full of shit.

There is no such thing as "the media." Daily newspapers do things differently than weeklies do them; 24-hour cable-news networks do things differently than more focused TV news sources. And even within these media genres--like those 24-hour cable-news networks--there's a hell of a lot of difference. Usually, when people use the phrase "the media" (and let me be clear--it's not just Republicans who do this) they're trying to use "the media" as a distraction, a scapegoat, a campaign tool.

Take all of the claims about the Palin coverage. While some media sources may have indeed been sexist in their coverage, or may dislike Palin because she's not a known quantity, or may lean liberal (like the paper you're reading right now--though it's important to realize there's a difference between "liberal" and "unfair"), most media sources have reported the Palin story rather accurately.

Don't let any talking heads convince you otherwise. To repeat: There is no such thing as "the media."

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