This is a broad and general term often used by detractors to sully the reputation of some news organization they do not fancy. It is largely taken to encompass the entire news business as a whole, but those using the term mean “All news sources except for the one or two that I get my news from.”
Before going any further, it should be noted that the proper form of the word media is plural. One loses all credibility when they utter the sentence “The media is a bunch of scalawags.” The media isn’t an is. It is an our. The correct version of this sentence is “The media are a bunch of scalawags.” Now that we have settled this little quirk of language, let us move on.
Who are the media exactly? This is a point of contention. Those outside the realm of “the media” tend to narrow the definition down to only those organizations that report or attempt to report the news. Those inside the media are quick to point out that the term should include all personalities on all forms of messaging including newspapers, television, the Internet and radio. This much broader definition includes not just news personalities, but all entertainment figures as well. Technically, the march of technology has made all users who post publicly on social media part of “the media.”
Accusations of Bias
Quite often, entertainers who masquerade as journalists will make the accusation on talk radio that the media is biased. This claim is quite dubious considering that these political shock jocks are themselves members of the media who have the opposite bias and agenda that they are accusing the rest of the media of having. These same shock jocks act under the assumption that “the media” is an organized group with a common agenda. Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a newsroom is immediately and keenly aware that no such organization exists and that reporters and editors can barely coordinate what time to eat lunch, let alone a massive political conspiracy. This isn’t to say there is no bias in the media, but there is not a singular bias. The media umbrella includes news coverage, political opinion and entertainment. There is programming with a conservative bias, programming with a liberal bias and programming with no bias. These claims are largely due to the aforementioned misunderstanding that media means “news media.”