By Paul Lombino
Each day I couldn’t wait to read Long Island’s Newsday from cover to cover ─ usually back to front. It seemed like journalists simply knew things before anyone else did. And that appealed to my adolescent sense of curiosity.
Anyway, the other day while researching a topic on investing, I came across a white paper that began with the words: “The media wants us to believe …”
I was sorry to see that over-reaching contention had entered the domain of corporate literature. If you’re a political junkie ─ the kind that flips back-and-forth between FOX and MSNBC before bedtime ─ you’ve probably heard about The Black Hand of THE MEDIA.
Here and now, I’m climbing out on a limb to publically declare there is no single organization called THE MEDIA. With cold hard logic, let’s expose two myths about the fourth estate.
Myth #1: The Media has the capacity to manipulate the feeble minds of millions of Americans without their knowledge.
Reality: First off, think of the coordination required to support some monolithic entity designed to move in lockstep with the sole purpose of crushing the souls of all freedom-loving citizens. It would be a logistical nightmare. Consider the luncheons alone. In bygone years, I had the privilege of working on newspapers and magazines, which I guess made me a bona fide member of THE MEDIA. But I was never invited to any luncheon where the fate of U.S. civilization was decided. What a gyp!
If I were a reporter today, my question and follow-up to THE BOSS OF THE MEDIA ─ once we find him or her ─ would be:
- How often does THE MEDIA meet?
- And is there an open bar?
Finally, if THE MEDIA were so calculating, The New York Times would not have sold The Boston Globe ─ purchased in 1993 for $1.1 billion ─ to Red Sox owner John Henry 20 years later for the comparatively paltry sum of $70 million.
Myth #2: The Media has blindly conspired against one political party in favor of the other.
Reality: Journalists are like cats. You can entice them to the bowl, but they’re not going to do tricks in unison for their meal. The assertion that THE MEDIA is in the bag for like-minded politicians is implausible. By their very nature, serious journalists will screw ─ for a lack of a better word ─ anyone if it means getting a good story with more prominent coverage. (You know who you are.)
Calling for a Moratorium
Let’s put it to bed forever. There is no single THE MEDIA. For what it’s worth, I’m calling on all writers of reason to place a moratorium on any sentence that begins with the unprovable conclusion: “The media wants you to …”
And while we’re at it, let’s agree to shun any sentence that begins with the equally preposterous: “This is what the president is thinking …”