Very often on social media sites, this sentence will pop up: “You won't see this in the mainstream media.” This will be followed by a link to a story.
Out of curiosity, I sometimes check the sources of the story. Very often, the only source will be a political blog that gives no sources. When there are no sources, reputable journalists who have to produce sources for the editors watching them, can't write a factual piece about something they cannot prove.
Once in a while, I do find the source of a story and when all the facts are known the real story has little relationship to what turned up on a political blog. For instance, such a story turned up on FaceBook last year about a minister who had been arrested for preaching the gospel and asking people to sign a petition to stop the persecution of Christians.
Eventually, I tracked the story down and a Christian minister had been arrested -- but not for preaching the Gospel. He had built a church in his back yard, which was in a subdivision, even though he was warned repeatedly with citations that it was a violation of local building codes and the area was zoned only for single family dwellings.
He ignored all the citations and started holding services. Eventually, his parishioners grew in number and every time the church met, the cars parking on the streets shut down the traffic flow and prevented people who lived in the subdivision from getting in or out of their own driveways when meetings were in session.
At that point, neighbors complained and the preacher began to receive citations for blocking the traffic. After months of ignoring summons to court, the police did what they do in every case of a failure to appear in court – they arrested him and he had to make bail.
There was no persecution, the man broke the law, even though he knew he was doing it. None of us live in a vacuum. What we do affects other people. The city government had no choice but to enforce the law. I never did the research to see how it ended, but no further calls for help in defending the minister ended up on any of the social media I keep up with.
The implication about the “mainstream media” is that the media are all under a central committee and all news outlets must run everything printed or reported by the committee. In cases such as the one I cited if I'm able to confirm the story by tracking it to a local paper, it means the mainstream media did report it because that's what local papers and the television news are about.
Even local editors must pick and choose what to report because there's always more going on than space and time will allow. Nationally, the media goes for stories that will bolster their ratings and bring in more money. Public demand is responsible for ongoing stories.
Is there bias in the media? Yes, and we all know where it, and it's in the news, it's commentary. But the mainstream media consists of the reporters and columnists all across America. Thousands of people contributing small parts of a big picture.