What have I gotten myself into? I had a nice, cushy job I absolutely despised. I dreaded going to work every day. I had little time for family or a personal life. But I traded all that for a position that plopped my smack dab in the middle of a group that seems to be supplanting lawyers and telemarketers in terms of unpopularity. I am a member of the media.

We just can't seem to do anything right for anybody. Heck, we very well may be more unpopular than Dick Cheney, who is probably more popular with small birds and hunting companions than we in the media seem to be with the general populace.

Nobody is happy. In the sports world, Barry Bonds is being confronted with evidence that he has ingested more chemicals than a hazardous waste bin at DuPont. But is it his fault that he took steroids that made his head as large as a Buick? No, the big problem is that the media reported on it.

Nevermind that throughout his career he has treated the media like some sort of mold growing on his shower shoes, the media is supposed to genuflect to his greatness and not mention that he might not be anywhere near the hallowed records of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron were it not for the whole steroids thing. The problem isn't Barry Bonds behavior, it's the media reporting on it.

President Bush is watching his approval ratings drop like a stone, down to 34 percent in some polls. It's a bipartisan free-fall, with many conservatives concerned with mounting debt and spending that makes Clinton look like Reagan. Many Americans, Republican and Democrat alike, are coming to the realization that this administration has no clue what they're doing in Iraq. The President's handling of Katrina, or lack thereof, hasn't helped either, judging by the polls.

But naturally, the declining poll numbers couldn't possibly have anything to do with, I don't know, the administration's policies and strategies failing at every turn. No, it's because the media only reports on the negatives. We should be ignoring what the media says about Iraq, because everything is just going just swimmingly, and this administration has been so truthful with us in the past that we have no choice but to believe them now.

The media, it seems, should be more like the old Soviet-era Pravda- the state can do no wrong.

On the other hand, many Bush critics seem to feel that that's what the media is anyway. Plow through enough left-wing blogs, and you'd assume that the "mainstream media" is nothing more than a Bush-administration lapdog, and not just the folks at Fox News.

I think we all know what the right thinks about the press corps. The bias charge from Rush Limbaugh and his ilk has gone on so long now that you would think that the words "liberal" and "media" are synonymous.

The scariest part is that for many today, "balance" is more important than truth, though really, it's more that people--left and right--care about having their own views validated than challenged. To steal a line from Edward R. Murrow from the movie "Good Night and Good Luck", I believe that not every story has two equal sides. Sometimes, one side is simply wrong, and to report it otherwise is irresponsible.

Bill Rudick says that it is just plain wrong that Terrell Owens still got his money. The countdown to meltdown starts now. Rudick's e-mail is brudick@epix.net.

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