Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I won't be using the terms "MSM or "Mainstream Media" anymore

I used to use both terms as shorthand for the main means of mass communication which existed before social media and as a generic terms for "news channels older than social media."

The trouble is that these terms have been increasingly co-opted by the tinfoil hat brigade, conspiracy theorists and the woollier fringes of the political spectrum, particularly nationalists of various stripes and those people in various parts of the political spectrum who pay far too much attention to the ludicrous post-truth propaganda spouted by foreign propaganda outfits like RT (formerly "Russia Today.")

You do not have to be someone who wants bad relations with Russia to recognise that the present Russian government has replaced communism with kleptocratic authoritarianism, is dangerously adventuristic, and has propaganda outlets like RT which put out a view of the world which is often grossly at variance with reality.

Unfortunately it suits some people in various parts of the political spectrum to take the nonsense which comes from outlets like RT seriously and trash the media not just when they report differing opinions or get things wrong - everyone is entitled to respond when they think that has happened - but as a default reflex. On the other side of the Atlantic  Donald Trump is probably the worst offender but there are many others.

On this side of the pond the worst offenders include Alex Salmond, Cybernats, and the headbanger wings of UKIP and Momentum, though it is worrying that people in the mainstream political parties are paying more attention to the likes of RT than they should.

As David Torrance wrote in the Scottish Herald yesterday,

"When politicians go after the media their supporters will inevitably follow."

Too many politicians have overdone the media-bashing and we now have the situation that "MSM" and "Mainstream Media" have become terms of abuse among a section of the political spectrum who think that everything on television or in newspapers is part of a conspiracy designed to hoodwink the public.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is a very good think if people apply healthy scepticism to the output of the TV and newspapers. But "Healthy scepticism" does not mean believing everything on the BBC or in newspapers is wrong any more than it means taking everything they say is Gospel truth. Healthy scepticism is the bit in between where you try to actually use your brain to try to decide whether they are getting it right or not.


Jim said...

I tend to use the term "legacy media" as main stream would indicate its where most people go for information. These days of course I am not convinced of that, as, thanks to technology and the amount of information we can access we are all capable of researching anything these days.

Chris Whiteside said...

That's a good term and as yet the tinfoil hat brigade have not co-opted it!