Ian Buchanan's latest piece of media criticism struck an increasingly frayed nerve. Why must we speak of the "mainstream media" as a single entity? Which media outlets are part of the MSM, and which aren't? Does Fox News count? Maybe the 53 percent of Democrats cited in the article that believe the MSM publishes fake news were including Fox News in that group (if so they'd be correct).
The truth is that this lazy formulation does nothing but serve right-wing propaganda efforts. The media landscape is made up of a massive variety of institutions, and lumping legacy print media in with CNN allows conservative commentators to tar responsible journalism with the failures of irresponsible journalism. Conservative outlets like Fox News and Breitbart repeat ad nauseam that viewers can't trust an imagined mainstream media bogeyman, eager sophomores piously repeat a soft core version of that message in the pages of college dailies, Americans lose faith in their institutions, the rich profit and the ice caps melt.
- Joseph Feldblum, PhD, Evolutionary Anthropology, '17
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