New York City newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin has often remarked that “‘media’ is the plural of ‘mediocre’” (first cited in print in 1978 or 1980). Breslin didn’t think too highly of how the media report stories.
“Media” is a plural of “medium,” and these words and the word “mediocre” all derive from the Latin medius (middle). Breslin’s remark is still often quoted.
Wikipedia: Jimmy Breslin
Jimmy Breslin (born October 17, 1930) is an American journalist and author. He currently writes a column for the New York Daily News‘ Sunday edition. He has written numerous novels, and columns of his have appeared regularly in various newspapers in his hometown of New York City. He served as a regular columnist for the Long Island, NY newspaper Newsday until his retirement on November 2, 2004, though he still publishes occasional pieces for the paper.
17 July 1980, The Stars and Stripes (Darmstadt, Hesse), Jimmy Breslin column, pg. 18, col. 3:
The word “media” is the plural of mediocre.
Google News Archive
24 July 1984, Lawrence (KS) Journal-World, “Hustlers with razor blades on the elbows have tendency to move along in a crowd” by William Safire, pg. 5A, col. 5:
“He (Mario Cuomo—ed.) was instructed by the eminent grammarian Jimmy Breslin, who said with Breslinesque certitude, ‘Listen, Mario, media is the plural of mediocre!’”
New York (NY) Times
PRESS VS. PALACE: AQUINO WIELDS A SWORD
By SETH MYDANS, Special to the New York Times
Published: January 22, 1987
The word “media,” a spokesman for President Corazon C. Aquino said in the early days of her Government, is the plural for “mediocre.”
13 October 1988, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “A New Set of Planes For a Master of Air” by Jimmy Breslin, pg. 2:
His instinct appears to tell him that people crumble quickly at the first show of bravado, particularly members of the media, which is the plural of mediocre.
28 April 1991, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “Queens Boulevard Has a Question” by Jimmy Breslin, pg. 5:
Many on Queens Boulevard are angry and distracted because of the way the news media - they regard media as the plural of mediocre - have again called it a street of invincible dishonesty.
The Executive’s Book of Quotations
Edited by Julia Vitullo-Martin and J. Robert Moskin
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
“Listen, Mario, media is the plural of mediocre.”
JIMMY BRESLIN, columnist, to New York Governor Mario Cuomo (This is incorrect. Cuomo was lieutenant governor from January 1, 1979, and then governor from January 1, 1983-December 21, 1994—ed.)
The Media’s Years of Reckoning
By Richard M. Clurman
New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers
(Comedian Fred Allen cracked that television was called a “medium because it was seldom well done” and columnist Jimmy Breslin added that “media is the plural of mediocre.”)
The 2,548 Wittiest Things Anybody Ever Said
By Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Touchstone
Media is the plural of mediocrity.—Jimmy Breslin
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (1) Comments • Saturday, September 29, 2012 • Permalink
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