Agreement question

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Fri Oct 18 18:04:11 UTC 2002

> I think you're mentally substituting the word *media*, a
> plural noun that
> is often used in such constructions rather than "press" and
> that *would*
> require "tell." The word *media* is--rightly--used these days
> to refer to
> those disseminating the news, since "press" suggests strictly print.
> (Smarter PR people have long used "news release" rather than "press
> release.")

I would disagree with this last. "Press" has long been used to denote the
profession of journalism, regardless of the medium (e.g., press corps, press
secretary). The term "media," however, has a broader denotation, including
entertainment and not just journalism (although that distinction is becoming
increasingly difficult to make). When conservatives rail about the "liberal
media," they are including Hollywood as well as news outlets. Aaron Sorkin
and Dan Rather are cursed in one fell breath.

As far as Jesse's original question goes, I think it's just the old
collective noun dilemma. Which one sounds right is more a question of local
idiom, with the general trend in American English going toward the singular

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