“If you ask me, the real problem is the way that the media has handled this.”

There's a controversial political issue that's causing a lot of problems. You're discussing this issue with a group of friends. One of your friends blames one of the people involved in the issue. You think that newspapers, TV news programs, radio show hosts, and so on should be blamed for it. You say this about who you think is at fault.

If you ask me, the real problem is the way that the media has handled this.

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If you ask me,

This is a way to boldly state your opinion about something. Start your sentence with this phrase to tell people what you think:

If you ask me, I think we ought to scrap the whole project altogether and start over.

People often use this phrase when they're giving an opinion that they think other people might disagree with. It makes you sound pretty opinionated.

If someone has already asked you what you think about something, you shouldn't use "If you ask me"

the problem is

In the example above, the speaker said:

the real problem is the way that the media has handled this

Of course, you could also say:

the way that the media has handled this is the real problem

So why does the speaker use the first version? It's because, in English, the information that comes at the end of the sentence is usually the most emphasized. We usually start a sentence with a subject that the listener or reader already knows about, and end with the subject that's new or needs to be emphasized.

In the example above, "the problem" is something that everyone is already talking about, while "the way that the media has handled this" is the speaker's new opinion.

the way that (someone) has handled (something)

To "handle" a situation means to deal with it. "The way that (someone) has handled" a situation means the things that they have done in response to that situation. For example, if one of your employees has done a bad job on a project, you can say:

I'm really not happy with the way that you've handled this.

This means "I'm not happy with the things that you did about this situation."

the media

"The media" is all the TV networks, magazines, newspapers, radio stations, and major websites that communicate information to a large number of people in a country. When you talk about "the media", you're usually talking about the mainstream media, which is media that most people know about and pay attention to.

Although it's made up of lots of different parts, we consider "the media" to be one single thing. That's why we use "the" in front of it.

If you're not talking about mainstream media, you don't have to use "the" in front of "media". Some other types of media include:

  • local media
  • print media
  • liberal media (media by and for people who have liberal political views)
  • conservative media
  • new media (web sites, web videos, etc.)
  • old media (media that's not on the Internet)