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Conservatives, particularly Fox News, like to accuse the mainstream media of having a liberal bias, not realizing that they themselves are a part of the mainstream media. In reality, the mainstream media is probably more conservative (in relation to its audience) than ever. Some conspiracy-minded liberals (9/11 truthers, for instance) make similar claims when their pet theories don't receive attention.
Among niche media — media designed to appeal to a smaller audience — and especially blogs, the term has taken on a slightly pejorative connotation, often abbreviating it as "MSM." They view mainstream media as being beholden to special interests, particularly corporations. They are, of course, just jealous, and would sell out in a heartbeat if offered.
The term also frequently used by hobbyists and others with niche interests to refer to the same media outlets. In this context, the term is not necessarily negative. In fact, most people are delighted to read about their favorite hobby in a major newspaper, provided the coverage is accurate and positive.
 Power of the mainstream media
Despite the opinion of blogs and other niche media, the Internet has had only a minimal impact on the power of the mainstream media. It still far outmuscles the Internet in terms of creating awareness. For example, in 2006, Congressmember Mark Foley was discovered to have texted creepy messages to sixteen-year-old Congressional pages. The resulting mainstream media frenzy rocketed his national name recognition from effectively no one outside the 720,000 people in his district to a whopping 86% of the nation's population in only two weeks.
The mainstream media will probably remain a major force in our society for some time to come. The main appeal of all alternative media, including the internet, is that it appeals to niche audiences interested in very specific subjects. There is no true "mainstream" on the Internet, and hence, no way for it to disseminate information effectively across a large population. And unlike the Internet, which at this point still requires special equipment and a regular fee to access, the mainstream media saturates every medium for free (i.e. broadcast television and radio) or is readily accessible at any time (i.e. newspapers and magazines).
The mainstream media is treated like a magic scapegoat by critics. They accuse the mainstream media of sensationalism, repressing free speech by avoiding discussing controversial issues (conservatives sometimes associate this with political correctness), and "dumbing down" the presentation of information. and oversimplifying issues. Critics also accuse MSM of glorifying sex and violence, blame it for the hypercommercialization/consumerism of society.
 See also
- Fox News, the right-wing mainstream media
- Jon Stewart
- Liberal media, a version of the mainstream media
- Media, for the most uselessly generic term available
- ↑ District population arrived at by dividing the population of Florida when Rep. Foley last held office (approx. 18 million) by the number of Congressional representatives Florida is alloted in the House (25).
- ↑ Admittedly, I made that number up. But realistically, I doubt it is even that high.
- ↑ Reporting Kepler 20e and 20f