How do America’s biggest media outlets keep getting away with pretending they’re not mainstream?

Here’s another honest question that I hope to address in the course of my Six Weeks of Rush challenge. It’s not a rhetorical question, and it doesn’t have to wait until we kick things off on Monday, so do feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

How is it that some of America’s most powerful conservative voices – or at the very least, their viewers and listeners – manage to pretend that they exist outside of the mainstream media? They might operate beyond the bounds of mainstream opinion, sure, but the mainstream media? The math just doesn’t bear it out.

Consider Fox News, for example. Back in January, in their own press release, they celebrated a decade as “the number one news network in cable television.” In spite of this, however, Fox News and its fans continue to argue that they’re a necessary alternative to the mainstream.

Hell, take a look at our man Rush Limbaugh. Here’s a man who’s celebrated by his fans as a brash, unapologetic alternative to the mainstream media. Meanwhile, The Rush Limbaugh Show is the highest-rated talk radio program in the United States. In terms of listeners and popularity, there is literally no other talk radio program in America that’s as mainstream as his.

How does this work, guys? What am I missing? What definition of the word “mainstream” do I need to adhere to in order to reconcile these massive, obvious contradictions? Feel free to set me straight in the comments, or reply to @SixWeeksofRush on Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response to “How do America’s biggest media outlets keep getting away with pretending they’re not mainstream?”

  1. Seth says:

    There isn’t a definition of mainstream media they will accept themselves as because, to them, mainstream media is defined by its liberal bias, not by its mainstream-ness. You can see it in the way Mainstream Media is often capitalized, scare quoted or abbreviated MSM. The term has become a proper noun divorced from the individual meanings of the words that make it up. It doesn’t matter how illiberal and power worshiping the MSM are, Fox/Rush/etc. will always be trying to shift the Overton window further right.

    Plus by defining things that way they can position themselves as the brave underdog, speaking truth to power. One can never underestimate the draw for the majority of positioning themselves as martyrs to justify their attempts to hang onto their power. The same dynamic plays out when American Christians portray themselves as persecuted, or white people claim reverse-racism.