Stop Blaming Things on “The Media” to Sound Smart
Pardon the rant, but I need to get something off my chest: it’s become trendy among young people to blame “the media” for everything, and it makes us sound deeply stupid.
Even before Trump started bashing the press at every opportunity, I would constantly hear people scapegoating “the media” for everything from racism to body image issues to stress.
Of course, the media’s not perfect. But the media is also massive and complicated. It encompasses everyone from your local newspaper to the New York Times to Instagram to TV shows and movies and even us, here at Galore.
So when people say they’re mad at “the media,” it’s basically meaningless. The weirdest part about this, though, is that the people I hear saying it are oftentimes part of the media.
If you’re trying to work in pretty much any creative profession, you are part of the media. As such, you should be smart enough to distinguish between newspapers, magazines, blogs, and internet trolls, without lumping them all together.
Still, I get pitches from people all the time saying, “I want to write about how the media makes people feel bad about [insert horrible thing here].”
I usually ask them, “Which media?”
And it turns out that what they really meant by “the media” was “this one blog post” or “a few memes I’ve seen.” Or even “something my friend said once.” Or a politician or CEO who’s really not part of the media.
For example, Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump are doing a lot of shady shit right now. But for some reason, I’ve seen people complain about the media professionals covering that shady shit. In fact, some people seem to complain about the media coverage before they even get mad about the shady shit sometimes.
This is the definition of scapegoating the media. Do you really think that if reporters stop covering Trump and Conway, they’ll just go away? Sorry, that won’t happen. So direct your anger where it really belongs: at the people who are actually doing shady shit.
The media exists to transmit messages. So don’t get mad at media outlets for transmitting messages about bad things that are happening — get mad at the people and corporations doing bad things.
To blame the media is to shoot the messenger. You might have heard this has been considered un-chill since Roman times.
Shooting the messenger can be the easiest way to feel like you’re taking action, but it does absolutely nothing to solve the root problem. And that’s the same problem with blaming “the media.” It’s an easy way to find a scapegoat, but other than that, it accomplishes nothing.
And if there really is a media outlet doing something you don’t agree with, don’t assume that means the world is out to get you and all media is terrible. Just find some other news outlets to follow and move on.
Blaming things on the media is pointless and counterproductive. The next time you’re tempted to do it, be specific instead. Think about who or what is really at fault for whatever it is you’re talking about, and blame them. Maybe it’ll actually make a difference.