It’s not even noon, and already I’ve heard, seen, and read over a dozen comments from people blaming The Media for the mistaken news reported last night in the West Virginia mining disaster.
Yes, there was some sloppy work done, which comes hand-in-hand with live television coverage and print deadlines. There can certainly be debate about what went wrong and who is at fault.
The problem is that every single one of these people blaming The Media are doing it on their radio shows, their TV newscasts, their newspaper websites, or their blogs. What they fail to acknowledge is that they are part of The Media, too.
Yesterday on my KMOX show, a listener commenting on one of the topics went off on a tangent about the Rodney King case, saying The Media didn’t tell the truth about it. I wanted to ask him how he could possibly still be harping on the Rodney King case after all these years, but instead I asked him to give me examples of what The Media supposedly didn’t report.
He proceeded to repeat many of the things about the case we already know. I asked him, if The Media hadn’t reported them, how did he come to know those things, and he said he’d heard them from Michael Savage. I had to point out to him that Savage is a radio host and regardless of how much he wants to play-act that he’s an outsider, his job makes him, by definition, part of The Media.
So am I. So is Rush (who started his show today claiming that this story proves that you can’t trust The Media about anything, believe it or not). So are all the people at CNN and Fox News Channel and NPR and InstaPundit and DailyKos and The Suburban Journals and Fark — and that woman who opened a Blogger account because she just has to share some fabulous news about her cats.
You see, there’s no membership card to join The Media. It doesn’t matter whether you have a radio show that’s syndicated to hundreds of stations or heard by two members of your family on a small-town college station at two in the morning. You’re still in The Media. Same goes for a local cable access TV show, a free weekly neighborhood newspaper, or even a blog.
If you publish, broadcast, or otherwise distribute content, stop referring to The Media in the third person.
Instead, have the guts to be specific in your complaints. Don’t like what some news network did, or the headline in a certain newspaper, or the wording used by a particular blogger? Then vent and rant all you like, but mention them all by name, rather than blaming The Media in general.
This is the new paradigm, and you’re part of it. Get used to it.