It may induce heartburn for political junkies to admit it, but elections are not decided by the hardcore, politically-minded, engaged partisans or ideologues on the Right or the Left. Sure, a motivated base is very important, but elections in our divided country are decided in the middle, by the moderates, independents, and undecideds.
So why do we tell these election-deciders, every single day, that the Liberal Democrats giving them their news are the “mainstream” ones?
What’s that make us, extremists?
Stop doing it. Stop calling “mainstream” those Liberal Democrats who are actively working to undermine everything you believe in.
Eighty percent of Americans do not identify as liberals. Liberal Democrats are, then, quite literally not the mainstream. They are the fringe.
“The Mainstream Media.” “The MSM.” Stop using these shorthand descriptions for our fringe adversaries in the media.
Yes, many of these outlets have large audiences. But that does not make the media outlet “mainstream.” Porn is far more popular than NBC or the New York Times, but its purveyors are not mainstream.
And no, the phrase is not simply too handy to change now. Seemingly overnight, we all embraced the term “death tax,” replacing that . . . other name we used to use to describe that tax. We can successfully reform our word choice again.
And it should start right now.
So what shall we now call the Liberal Democrat media institutions that include ABC, NBC/MSNBC, CBS, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, CNN, NPR/PBS, PolitiFact and too many others?
Numerous alternate monikers are already floating out there:
The Drive-by Media. Rush’s term. Funny, but does not get at their partisan goals and ideological filter.
State-run or State-controlled Media. Also used by Limbaugh. Hilarious and true, but only makes sense when Democrats are running government. I think a term that works at all times is preferable.
Democrat-Media Complex, Democrat Media Complex, or just the Complex. Breitbart’s memorable phrasings that evoke Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex.” Given his wisdom and also for sentimental reasons, embracing Breitbart’s usage would be a smart, moving tribute to him (someone I never had the joy of meeting). Because I believe the Democrats and the Media are essentially the same institution, I would omit the hyphen; and since simply saying “the Complex” is a bit too sci-fi/insider baseball for the middle-roaders we are trying to reach, I think “Democrat Media Complex” is the best of the Breitbart formulations.
Leftist Media or Liberal Media. I like these terms and find them preferable to Mainstream Media, but they actually give these media outlets too much credit, as if their work is driven by philosophically sound underpinnings. In practice, these liberals have a much less elevated and more devastating goal: to elect Democrats in every race at all times. I believe our messaging to the moderates, independents and undecideds who decide elections should consistently remind them WHY they should be mindful of the bias in their news: because these media outlets are extensions of the Democrat Party.
The Democrat Media. This has been my preferred term. It cuts to the chase: they exist to elect Democrats.
The Liberal Democrat Media. A bit wordy, though accurate. Does allows for “LDM” to replace “MSM” shorthand.
The Elite Media. Newt’s formulation. It has some of the same problems as “Mainstream Media,” since “elite” is not always a pejorative. Princeton and Google are both elite institutions, to take two examples, but moderates feel pretty good about both (for some good reasons).
We could rebrand the Liberal Media this election cycle and make it stick. We don’t need anyone’s permission to do so. It starts the moment you and I stop using the inaccurate and self-defeating phrase “Mainstream Media” and start telling the truth about them.
So find a more accurate and more effective phrase that works for you, and just start using it. Encourage others to do the same. Will it singlehandedly save our nation? Of course not. But it’s a meaningful start that can begin RIGHT NOW.
For me, it’ll be the Democrat Media, or Democrat Media Complex, or on Twitter, where space is tight, the DMC (which sounds much like the DNC, or Democratic National Committee, but I actually see that as a feature, not a bug).
What’s it going to be for you, and why? Let’s hear it in the comments.