Apparently, it’s not just enough to shoot the messenger anymore.
These days, the messengers need to be shot, stabbed, tarred and feathered, drawn and quartered and disemboweled … all in a figurative sense, of course.
We are living in one of the most divisive times in our country’s history. It’s Donald vs. Hillary and it’s Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter and it’s us vs. them every place we look. There seems to be one unifying theme, however, that is able to bring together all of these disparate opinions, ideologies and lifestyles.
It’s all the media’s fault.
All of it. Everything. Every. Single. Part.
A quick scan of social media reveals the real media — alternately referred to as “the liberal media” and the “conservative mouthpieces” — is, by nearly all accounts, evil. We are too liberal. And too conservative. And stir up racial tensions. And we don’t do enough to shed light upon why racial tensions exist in the first place.
We are, seemingly, the only thing that can bridge the gap in the presidential debates, because no matter how we choose to present it to the public, we are doing it wrong.
In a world in which nobody can get along and have civil discourse anymore, we can all rest assured in knowing the media is to blame.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely some members of the media who are, to be quite frank, terrible at their job. I won’t single out any individuals or organizations, but you and I both know there are out there — and all of us are exposed to them on pretty much a daily basis.
There are print, radio and television journalists who have no business being a part of the industry. There are independent bloggers acting as journalists who are giving the rest of us a bad name. Are there members of the media who are every bit as bad as some people would have you believe?
But “some” is not the same as “all.” That doesn’t seem to stop many people from painting the entire media with the same broad brush, which is patently offensive and unfair to the thousands of journalists who work hard every day to keep the masses informed of what is going on and make sure everyone has the opportunity to obtain the information available and use it to form their individual opinions of the world around them.
We do not deserve to all fall under the same categorization and more than any other profession — all of which are filled with people with varying skill levels.
Does one bad meal at a restaurant mean all chefs are terrible? No. That’s ridiculous.
Would you say “all doctors are incompetent” because some have lost malpractice suits? No. That’s unfair.
Are “all teachers a failure” because some countries have higher test scores than the United States? It would be ludicrous to think that.
Are there bad journalists out there? Absolutely. Are there bad lawyers, accountants, trash collectors, factory workers, astronauts and dog catchers out there, too? Sure are.
Yet, for some reason, so many people out there seem to believe the media is fair game for both stereotyping and derision.
Heck, it even happens in my own family.
Just last week, I had a cousin — my own flesh and blood — who posted the following on social media: “the american media is a menace to society.”
Seriously? Did he think I wouldn’t see this remark or take offense to it? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve built up a pretty thick skin over the years when it comes to attacks on the media — whether they be personal or broad-based — but I had always kind of hopes my family wouldn’t turn on me.
When I politely tried to point out to him that I found his remark offensive and that it probably wasn’t fair to be assailing an entire profession, that I wasn’t being attacked personally and that I shouldn’t “take such a reactionary stance about it.” I was also told to “cut me some slack dude.”
Well, then. I guess that settles it. Why on Earth should I be offended when I am told that an entire profession — one I’ve dedicated my entire life to — is a “menace to society.” Clearly, I was in the wrong for daring to take offense at his incendiary remarks.
In fairness, though, I know my cousin is not alone in his sentiment. I see the same thing numerous times — whether it be in my Facebook feed, on Twitter or elsewhere — every single day.
It’s a completely unfair assessment to lump all of us into one. It’s lazy and it’s a cop-out. It’s the easy thing to do, rather than to actually explore the issues at hand. If you are doing it, chances are you are just as big a part of the problem as the media you are so quick to criticize.
But hey, I’m just the messenger, so don’t shoot me.
Reach David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong