The information machine otherwise known as Mass Media has been getting a few knocks as of late. Finger pointers point fingers at such free press bastions as The New York Times, CBS and Playboy, claiming that newspapers, TV networks and monthly magazines have turned a blind eye to controversy and corruption. They say that today’s news media has adopted a “roll over and play dead” approach in regards to current events. They say that today’s media is too caught up with Michael Jackson, runaway brides and the reeducation of Katie Holmes to properly report upon the important issues of the day. In short, they claim that today’s news media sucks.

But does it suck? And if so, how much? We decided to find out.

For example, we carefully studied The New York Times on the day following the release of the first two legs of the upcoming Bonnie Raitt tour, and discovered the famed Gray Lady (The Times, not Bonnie) not only failed to mention this important story on the front page, but didn’t even bother to address anywhere in that day’s edition. Shocked? You’re not the only one.

But The Times wasn’t the only offender for neither the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times or the Fresno Bee found the news of Ms. Raitt’s impending tour to be relevant enough to include in their daily editions. Oh, sure, there were plenty of stories about Iraq, Social Security and wildfires in Southern California, but nary a mention of the big story of the day. Clearly the news media struck out on that one.

And they also struck out on the Jane Monheit tour as well. As they did on the tours for RX Bandits, Trey Anastasio and The Offspring, leading us to wonder whether recent criticism of the press might be well-founded, and that big media is nothing but a vacuous, inhaling machine that could lay waste to even the toughest chrome plating found on the strongest trailer hitch.

Of course, the failure to cover the important stories of the day, like the schedule for the or the dates for the Howe/Squire/White tour could be attributed to bad timing. Perhaps their reporters were all on vacation that day, or maybe someone called in sick. In short, it might be totally unfair to judge an entire news operation by one day’s output. So we dug deeper.

And do you know what we found? Neither NBC, CBS or ABC even bothered to mention that Loggins & Messina added an entire month’s worth of dates to their reunion tour. Furthermore, neither MSNBC, NPR or CSPAN even took note that Depeche Mode recently announced the Euro leg of what the band promises to be a world-wide tour. As you can imagine, our faith in mass media dropped several points on the trustworthy scale. And that was before we even looked at Fox News, where we discovered that… well… trust us. You don’t want to know.

What to make of it? What to make of a news media that prides itself on being the best source for information in the world, but doesn’t even mention the new tours for Dead Poetic or Sigur Ros? Well, we’re not one to throw stones at fourth estates, but we can’t help thinking there’s a problem. A big problem.

For if the news media’s purpose is to report on the issues that matter, regardless of public opinion, individual political leanings, or cold hard facts, then today’s media has definitely let us down more times than Axl Rose has promised the imminent release of Chinese Democracy. Oh, sure, they’re quick to jump on easy stories, like a reunited Pink Floyd appearing at , but they constantly fail to report on relevant issues, like Liz Phair playing in Boston on July 26. Hear that sound? That’s Edward R. Murrow turning in his grave.

Does the news media suck? Truth be told, we’re probably not the ones to answer that important question. We’re tour date specialists, and when it comes to massive news outlets owned by mega corporations doing incredibly stupid things, we’re clearly out of our league. But the facts don’t lie. Alanis Morissette, the Eagles and Ramsey Lewis all have tour dates, yet not one major media outlet deemed it necessary to include those very important stories within the past week. No, we cannot positively say that today’s news media sucks like a Hoover in a dust storm. That’s not our job.

However, we can say that anyone who still trusts today’s major information outlets to deliver the important news is probably getting the news media he or she deserves. And we’ll just leave it at that.