There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| You gotta spin it to win it|
|Stop the presses!|
|We want pictures|
“”Stop buying into this [alternative media] bullshit. You're getting played. If it's not a "main stream" news source, that means they don't have anyone to answer to and nobody will lose their job if they report inaccurate information. You're not "woke" for reading alternate news, you're a dipshit. Rather than poring over old news clips to prove that 9/11, Sandy Hook, or the Boston Marathon was an "inside job", you should go outside and get a job.
|—Maddox, Your alternative news site sucks|
Mainstream media is a catchall term referring to television networks (especially broadcast), newspapers, magazines, radio, and often the movie industry. It is so named because it is designed to appeal to as large an audience as possible, hence "mainstream."
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 lefties (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. Hilariously, they do tend to sell out in a heartbeat if offered.
The term is also frequently used by hobbyists and others with specialized 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 common opinion, 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, Congressman 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. This is especially true when one considers that the mainstream media is dominated by large corporations on all of its fronts. This includes the internet, with companies such as Yahoo! and Google at the forefront. The main appeal of all alternative media, including the internet, is that it appeals to 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).
As previously mentioned, mainstream media is treated like a magic scapegoat by critics as a source of sensationalism, repressing free speech by avoiding discussing controversial issues (wingnuts sometimes associate this with political correctness), and "dumbing down" the presentation of information and of oversimplifying issues. Critics also accuse MSM of glorifying sex and violence and blame it for the hypercommercialization/consumerism of society.
To conspiracy theorists, the mainstream media is a no go, because they're government-paid shills.
Sadly there is truth to it
While most kooks and conspiracy theorists give a mass exaggeration to the mainstream media, sadly it has, at times, only encouraged those views. The 2016 presidential election certainly showed considerable bias towards Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, giving them more screen time than other candidates. Bernie Sanders's campaign run was plagued by a lack of coverage, dubbed by his supporters and, eventually, his staffers as the "mainstream media blackout"; his supporters were demonized without any legitimate evidence. Despite winning 23 states throughout the primaries, Sanders was ignored by most of the mainstream media, who instead framed him as the stereotypical socialist, despite his ideology being more in line with social democracy. At times, major news, such as reveals from Wikileaks in July, are purposely ignored. These actions will definitely encourage more anti-MSM sentiment (if that is even possible) for years to come.
- Fox News,
the Republican propaganda wingthe right-wing mainstream media
the Democratic propaganda wingthe left-wing mainstream media
- CNN, somewhere in between left/right (centrist), but focuses most of its efforts on in-depth coverage of minutia.
- Jon Stewart, who tackles the lulz found in the mainstream media
- Liberal media, a version of the mainstream media as portayed by conservatives
- Media, for the most uselessly generic term available
- The 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).
- "Who Owns the Media? | Free Press." Free Press. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013. http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart
- Reporting Kepler 20e and 20f