Thursday, October 30, 2008

Renaming the Media

CNN, AP, the New York Times and the like are no longer entitled to be called "mainstream media". There is nothing "mainstream" about them, and their audiences don't warrant the moniker "mainstream". If the Libertarian Party is not a "mainstream" party, why is the New York Times a "mainstream" newspaper?

Circulation of New York Times: 1.1 million daily, 1.6 million Sunday
Votes received by Libertarian Party candidates for House of Reps: Over one million
Votes for Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik in 2006: 397,265
Readers of political blogs in 2004 (the number is much higher now): 32 million*

*27% x 120 million Internet users = 32.4 million

If the Libertarian Party is not a "mainstream" political party, why is a newspaper with 100,000, 300,000 or 1.1 million readers "mainstream"?

I have carefully thought about this question. The word "pissant" comes to mind as a good description of the media, but it is somewhat vulgar. The word "puissant" means the opposite of "pissant". Derived from Middle French, "puissant" is related to the words "posse" and "potent" and refers to "power". It is probably more accurate to say that the New York Times has power than that it is mainstream. In fact, I would argue that it represents an extremist social democratic point of view. On the other hand, "pissant" means insignificant or worthless, and derives from the word pismire, which in turn refers to the smell of uric acid on ant hills.

Although the two words are opposite in meaning, they both could apply to the media. Pissant is probably more accurate but because of its vulgarity the word "puissant", which means powerful but reminds one of "pissant" might be the best word.

The mainstream media is hereby dubbed the "puissant media".

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