Of all the research areas of modern discovery science, few attract more attention than the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. This is partially due to the fact that SETI is accessible, since the public can readily understand the goals of the research. The man in the street also finds SETI particularly exciting, a fact reflected by the ubiquitous presence of extraterrestrials in popular culture. The media interact with SETI in three areas: (1) reporting on research efforts, (2) being the principal conduit of information in case of a SETI detection, and (3) linking the subject deliberately or otherwise to the many stories of alien visitation. In this paper we will discuss the way science meets the media, and how and whether this often dicey relationship might serve to raise the general level of science literacy.