The Press: A Word Gone Mad

What is "the media"? Usually, a contumacious cliché. Often, a grammatical abomination. The word is eternally plural — literally, more than one "medium." In the current issue of Columbia Journalism Review] University of Wisconsin Communication Professor George Bailey deplores the persistent and growing tendency to use the word with singular incorrectness. Echoing a TIME Essay (June 7, 1971), he attributes that offense to something more ominous than doubtful command of the mother tongue. "People who write or say 'The media is against Nixon' or 'The media exploits children' actually conceptualize the media as a singular, unitary entity — a force,...

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