Years ago (like back in the ‘80’s), I came across a very important fellow with long hair and knickers. Francis Schaeffer, author of How Should We Then Live (and a host of other great books) proved to be prophetic in many of his warnings to the western church. One of the warnings which demonstrated Schaeffer’s prescient gift was his admonition to beware of the power of mass media.
Rush Limbaugh and others have made a healthy lump of dough pointing out media bias in America’s newsrooms. Who any longer doubts the leftward inclinations of most reporters at the New York Times or CNN? What Schaeffer pointed out, however, was not simply that biased reporters beget biased reporting. He noted how biased editors, too, would mean biased narratives. In other words, the problem with media bias is not simply how news gets reported; the problem is also what news gets reported. Our real media curse is more the latter than the former. Here is what I mean.
Media bias—in the sense of catching the slant on how news stories get reported—is easy to spot in an internet world. When the U.S. embassy in Libya gets attacked, there are mainstream reporters covering it, but there are also numerous conservative websites and news sources covering it from a different perspective. One who wishes to get the most accurate story will be wise enough to read both accounts and settle the matter of bias for himself. This form of biased reporting is easily correctible with a little due diligence.
The more serious form of bias occurs when we ask questions about what stories are actually covered in the first place. For instance, consider today’s “Top Headlines” from NBC News (as reported on the NBC Today Show home page). Here are some of the “top” stories:
- An inside look at Joran van der Sloot’s prison home.
- A story of how Tom Brokaw got an interview with Gorbachev.
- How to protect your cloud backup storage (so old photos of you in the nude don’t end up all over the internet as they allegedly have with Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton).
- The U. S. targets an air strike against the terrorist who carried out the Kenya mall attack.
There are even more stories further down the page—such as a celebration of two men finally able to marry one another in Minnesota.
- 1,500 men slaughtered in front of their wives and children in Iraq
- 500 Christian women kidnapped and sold as sex slaves
- Woman in Yemen burned to death for becoming a Christian
- Muslim herdsmen in Nigeria kill 18 Christians
Many more stories could be added to the list. The point is that we can’t assume that “News” is what the news people say it is. All news is filtered news. What is the filter that determines which news gets through? For us, it must be Christ, who is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. All things are from Christ and for Christ—even the news. Perhaps it’s okay—or at least understandable—that mainstream reporters and editors would forsake the suffering of Christians, but Christ has promised that He never will. Because we are His flock, we must not forsake our brothers and sisters either in their time of greatest earthly need.