Memo to Blogosphere: Let’s Drop the Term Mainstream Media — “MSM” — and Instead Use Corporate-Owned News Media — “CONM”

Memo to Blogosphere: Let’s Drop the Term Mainstream Media — “MSM” — and Instead Use Corporate-Owned News Media — “CONM”

March 18, 2008

I’ve been wanting to suggest this for quite some time, so here goes.

Memo to bloggers everywhere, on both the Left and the Right:

Please, let’s all drop the misleading and unhelpful acronym “MSM” from our shared vocabularies as bloggers and use the term “Corporate-Owned News Media” or “CONM” (pronounced “CON-UM”) instead.

Here’s why:

The term “mainstream media” carries a connotation that the views expressed within are part of some mainstream. I understand the history of the term. That it was meant to describe what “most” members of a particular professional group were doing. But as a term “MSM” has outlived its usefulness and is, in the context of current events, misleading and far too generous.

Rhetorically speaking, if the MSM represents some part of the “mainstream,” then that would put its critics, again, rhetorically speaking, somewhere in the fringes, I would suppose.

But, in our cacophonous diversity, we bloggers are the mainstream.

And what we object to, in growing numbers, are media, the news media in particular, that pollutes the vital public information streams on which our democracy depends, or manipulates the electoral process with propagandistic Big Lie techniques that lead to the sort of ineffective, counterproductive social policies that have brought our great nation low. The term Corporate-Owned News Media, “CONM,” is a far more apt descriptor of this increasingly apparent underlying socio-political-economic malignancy.

What’s more, the term “CONM” also far more accurately focuses attention on the underlying source of the most problematic issues currently attributed to the MSM, including by more explicitly identifying the at least reasonable suspicion that hidden corporate agendas can play a role in advancing the public disinformation campaigns we so frequently see.

For these reasons and more henceforth I’m going to stop using the term “MSM” and instead use “CONM,” with a short explanation the first time I use it in each post. I hope others will consider doing so as well.

Sample use:

After watching the CONM continue to repetitively rebroadcast excerpts of the speeches of Rev. Jeremiah Wright today, over, and over and over again, in an obvious effort to smear Senator Obama by association, calling FOX and CNN and the rest of their ilk part of the American “mainstream” is a kindness I can no longer stomach. Their corporate agendas are showing. The least we can do is call them on it.

posted by Hal Plotkin | 05:21 PM | Comments (0)
Not This Time: Obama on Guilt by Association

From Senator Obama’s speech today, “Toward a More Perfect Union”:

“We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies. We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change. That is one option.

Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”

This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.”

About the Author /

My published work since 1985 has focused mostly on public policy, technology, science, education and business. I’ve written more than 600 articles for a variety of magazines, journals and newspapers on these often interrelated subjects. The topics I have covered include analysis of progressive approaches to higher education, entrepreneurial trends, e-learning strategies, business management, open source software, alternative energy research and development, voting technologies, streaming media platforms, online electioneering, biotech research, patent and tax law reform, federal nanotechnology policies and tech stocks.

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