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DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER: For Mom and Apple Pie, Stop Saying “The Media”

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Don't Shoot the MessengerBecause of the old gal’s 239th birthday on July 4, The Messenger decided to dedicate this issue to America, loading it up with DIY parade float ideas and apple pie, even if only because America could use a bit of encouragement to get through what has been, let’s say, a challenging decade. America has never been easy, but watching the parade of nincompoopery that our government has become often makes this reporter wonder why exactly it has to be so hard.

Granted, most folks see things through their own lens, but I can’t help but feel that it has something to do with “the media.”

An essential component for democracy to function is information. Without it, we have nothing to base democratic decisions on. And when we have bad information, we have a bad democracy. Obviously, media isn’t the only way to get information, but it sure is a convenient one. Since most people can’t take the time off from work to sit in Congressional hearings or local school board meetings all day, we send a few duly selected representatives to report back for the rest of us. But if those reports lack integrity, then the whole thing falls apart.

I’m of the opinion that the problems we are seeing in our democracy are less problems with democracy itself, than they are with the media that fuels it. Democracy has always been turbulent, but the rise of partisan 24-hour news networks turned even the inane bureaucracies of governance into a bloodsport not even Hearst or Pulitzer could have imagined, and our government has gotten steadily more dysfunctional since. Even the disastrous Citizens United ruling that allowed unchecked and unprecedented amounts of money into elections was about media, as the original lawsuit was over whether or not a political action committee could pay to air a feature-length hit-piece called Hillary: The Movie.

How dare you do that us, The Media, you absolute dick.

Of course I think there’s something that can easily be done about it. Stop saying “The Media.” I know that seems simplistic, but “The Media” is a simplistic term that boils down multiple forms of media made by countless outlets with and without agendas into a single term that lumps them all together and distorts their meanings, so that when we as a culture critique FOX News for being a gang of lying, racist shit-heels suckling at the teat of the Koch Brothers, those critiques get carried over to investigative reporters at major magazines, dailies fighting the good fight by braving the boredom of city water board commissions, and even tiny independent culture-rags like The Rogue Valley Messenger. When we then can’t trust “The Media,” for being a gang of lying, racist shit-heels suckling at the teat of the Koch Brothers, the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.

As I said before, bad information makes for a bad democracy and a blanket term like “The Media” is bad information. That makes mom and apple pie sad. And you don’t want to do that on her birthday. That’s just rude.

The Toby Keith set are right. We do need to take our country back. But not from a particular party or president so much as the misinformation used to manipulate democracy. The best way to do that is to separate it the herd. And in my mind one of the first steps to doing that is to stop saying “the media.”

I’m sure I’m being a starry-eyed optimist here. But hey, that’s America y’all.

Happy Fourth everyone. Now let’s get slizzered and barbecue something like our spiritual president Bruce Willis would do.

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