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MISTAKE IN LANGUAGE MASKS REAL NATURE OF “MEDIA”

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A near-universal mistake in language relates directly to a common mistake in our culture—and both mistakes ought to be corrected if we hope to understand our society more accurately. From Barack Obama to Rush Limbaugh, nearly everyone treats the word “media” as a singular noun, employing phrases like “the media is wrong.” Actually, “media” is a plural form– it’s right to say “media are” not “media is.”

This is important, because treating media as a united, singular entity suggests that those media speak in one voice, which isn’t true anymore. Opinions you read in leading newspapers differ sharply from what you hear on talk radio, just as Fox News hardly echoes MSNBC. While most media outlets still tilt left, suggesting different media express the same outlook is misleading and destructive.

Our language ought to catch up to reality—and to reflect the fact that media have become diverse enough for us to recognize room for multiple viewpoints.

Comments (3)

  1. From: Chris   On: July 21, 2014

    THANK YOU!
    I cringe when the media are referred to as if they are just a singular entity.
    They are, yes, a polyglot of voices, overwhelmingly of the anti-American variety but not universally so.
    Here’s another term you might want to go after: “mainstream media.”
    Since the media, the news media and entertainment media, in general are so hopelessly divorced from the American mainstream, a much more accurate term would be one I’ve heard only occasionally used but which more correctly describes them: the establishment media.
    Says it all pretty succinctly, doesn’t it?

  2. From: marty kaltenbach   On: July 25, 2014

    I usually put an adverb or qualifying word in front when this topic comes up. Like establishment, major, traditional, local or small town, talk radio, etc. I believe most people we see and hear in the media have educations from eastern colleges.

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