Those two words have become a proper noun all their own. Insert the word "liberal" between them and you have a label, a cliché.
In either case, the sentence that follows is likely filled with accusations: about the way The Media covers (or doesn't) the news, about the way The Media has an agenda or is slanted so far left or right that it ceases to function as some mythical standard.
The Media is a monolith, a monster. Those who talk about it are usually wielding oversized rhetorical bats to beat opponents senseless.
We forget The Media is stories about human beings.
I've written this column for almost 16 years. I've been privileged to tell stories of human beings who live around the corner or a few miles away, regular folks whose tales and trials helped, in some small way, to transform us.
I've told stories of women who faced the disease that killed my sister, Suzie, at 42. So many women I've talked to over the years never lost heart or hope. When cancer was detected because a low-income woman got a mammogram after she read a column on how to get a free one, it proved for me the power of the press to do good.
One of my first pieces was about an 18th-century house that Cabarrus County nearly lost to bulldozers. Within a week after that column ran, the house was bought with the aid of a local preservationist. Later, it was moved to Mount Pleasant and restored.
Years later I wrote about it again, after it had been brought back to its former glory by owners who cared to preserve local history.
Quilting for Kids has appeared in this space a couple times. The Cabarrus group creates colorful handmade blankets for children at the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital. I've seen pictures of the kids wrapped up in all the colors of the rainbow.
Carol Schmidt, one of the group's founders, said a recent column brought a number of new volunteers to join.
Schmidt also wrote me about the woman who gave all her quilting supplies to the group. She, her daughter and her son-in-law had to get rid of many belongings. Both working adults lost jobs, and they don't know where they will live or how much room they'll have for their things.
Folks, there is no such thing as The Media.
There are many journalists doing their best to tell your stories and to do them justice. Most have only one agenda: to write about what happens and to honor the public they serve.
Pick up your newspaper or go online and look for the work of those journalists. Their stories can help us understand and appreciate the human beings with whom we share the planet.
The Media is a more diverse entity than we imagine. It's also a more human one.