War of words

Media vs. press

The phrase “left-wing media” has become a rallying cry for Republicans for years now. The idea says radical democrats – who hope to spread their message of high taxes and universal welfare – control the airwaves.

The problem comes when one starts looking for proof of this conspiracy.

Sure, there are factions of the media that lean to the left. This cannot be denied. One needs to look no further than MSNBC for examples. Chris Matthews famously said he felt “this thrill go up my leg,” when he listened to Obama speak. Keith Olbermann rants and raves nightly about the greatness of Democrats and the idiocy of Republicans.

Don’t feel too bad for Republicans though – they also get their propaganda on the air. Many on Fox News proudly wear their conservative values on their sleeves. The right also dominates talk radio. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh draw huge audiences on AM radio.

I like to split the news and those who present it into two categories: the media and the press.

The media consists of people on the airwaves who do not waste time and resources on trivial matters like objectivity. They say whatever they think, with no worry of how biased it may be. Matthews, Olbermann, Hannity and Limbaugh fit this mold. They will say they are not journalists, but commentators. They see the world in terms of black and white, right and wrong.

The press does everything they can to remain neutral. They want to present both sides of the story. They see the world as a big, complicated place full of grey area. They try to present a story without bringing their opinion in.

Journalism used to mean something. We trusted those who brought us the news every morning in our newspapers and every night on our television. News now comes from every direction. Multiple 24-hour news channels saturate televisions, the radio offers political discussion and the Internet offers a website for them all, plus a plethora of bloggers and citizen journalists who “report.”

The media is not a monolithic entity. To suggest that any one person or company can control all the information people receive is ludicrous. It is equally pointless to cry and moan about the right wing’s dominance on terrestrial radio and Fox News. Most people no longer look to the press to help shape their opinions on issues.

The media has already shaped their opinions.

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