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Monday, June 20, 2005The Death of the Mainstream Media
At the core of the "Mainstream Media" conceptualization is the idea that there is an audience of "mainstream" Americans for whom a particular range of well-established media outlets serve as news providers. Blogs, for example, are generally not considered "mainstream" sources of news because the bulk of their audiences and authors are not perceived to be "mainstream," and are, instead, understood to be self-selecting partisans who consume news at an extraordinarily high rate. It is in this sense that the concept of the "mainstream" media continues to postulate the truncated remnants of a national consensus. You can see this all the time when we crow about the need for the MSM to pay attention to one story or another. We, the fringe who consume alternative media, want the "mainstream" news to report something to the "mainstream" of the country. If we can only penetrate this mythical institution that the mythical mainstream both uses and trusts, then we can swing the mainstream.
I think, however, that it is time we put the notion of the Mainstream Media to rest. The national consensus is dead, and the mainstream media is dying.