A near-universal mistake in language relates directly to a common mistake in our culture—and both mistakes ought to be corrected if we hope to understand our society more accurately. From Barack Obama to Rush Limbaugh, nearly everyone treats the word “media” as a singular noun, employing phrases like “the media is wrong.” Actually, “media” is a plural form– it’s right to say “media are” not “media is.”
This is important, because treating media as a united, singular entity suggests that those media speak in one voice, which isn’t true anymore. Opinions you read in leading newspapers differ sharply from what you hear on talk radio, just as Fox News hardly echoes MSNBC. While most media outlets still tilt left, suggesting different media express the same outlook is misleading and destructive.
Our language ought to catch up to reality—and to reflect the fact that media have become diverse enough for us to recognize room for multiple viewpoints.
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