Do you still watch the news? How long have you been watching the news for? Whether it's been for a few years or for several decades, it's likely that you've watched without being critical of the information you are receiving. How do I know this? Well, because you're still watching it. If you were aware of how many lies, myths, and half-truths are reported, you would stop watching it immediately. Does that mean you shouldn't pay attention to current events? Absolutely not. But if you're still watching the news, maybe you should seek a different source of truth.
In 1 John 4:1-3, God's Word states... Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God." Followers of Christ are supposed to test the "spirits", which means we aren't supposed to blindly accept every teaching we hear. It also means that we must interpret information through the lens of the Bible, not the other way around. We must be able to recognize when we're hearing the truth and when we're being deceived. The mainstream media has been a spirit of deception for a long time, but it has become increasingly obvious as of late.
The Problem: Feelings and Fear
Watching the news is a daily event and even a tradition for some families. So as followers of Christ, we need to step back and reassess the content we're consuming. In April of 2021, Chris Talgo (Senior Editor at The Heartland Institute) wrote a fascinating opinion piece that was featured on townhall.com. In the article Mainstream Media’s Incessant Lies Are Tearing America Apart, he made some interesting distinctions related to some of the so-called news recently reported by the media...
Of course, these narratives are not fact-based, but feelings-based. And these narratives fall under similar themes: systemic racism is everywhere, climate change will doom the world, “assault weapons” are the scourge of society, etc.
We also should keep in mind that mainstream “journalists” also exhibit their blatant bias by what they choose not to report on. We can call this bias by omission. A few examples: the current border crisis, the gang violence epidemic in urban America, the decline of the nuclear family throughout America, etc.
Over the past year, the mainstream media have arguably lost whatever smidgeon of credibility they had left. The mass media’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been downright abysmal.
The mainstream media doesn't report the news in order to share the truth with us. So why do we, as Christians, watch the news as if it were? These days, it seems to be about advancing manipulative propaganda more than anything else. If we consider the landscape of the battle for truthful information in our society, it seems as though the news is intended to divide us. It seems as though it is designed to keep us watching and to change our feelings about how we view the world. Yes, it can change our worldview, if we allow it. So why continue to consistently subject ourselves to the lies, myths, and half-truths? Maybe it's just entertaining. Maybe we enjoy it. But are we allowing the mainstream media to shape our opinions and our values without us even recognizing it? Look, I'm not here to condemn anyone for ever having watched the news, but we must know by now that we're not getting the truth from the mainstream media.
Do we recognize that much of the information we receive from the news is intended to drive fear into our minds? And yet we know that God's Word declares there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18). That's the problem isn't it. We believe that the personalities on the news love us. We're comfortable with them telling us how to live. They smile at us and they tell us how to be safe. They report on the current events that really do concern us. But are they sharing God's truths with us? We might think the news is neutral, but we know that if it's not for God, it's against Him (Matthew 12:30). Generally speaking, do we really believe the mainstream media is for God?
The Solution: Truth
So how do we stay informed about current events? There are some media outlets that seem to be more concerned with sharing the news instead of making us afraid and manipulating our feelings, but they aren't necessarily easy to find. But it's worth the effort to find a news source that at least attempts to share the news without telling us how to think. I don't have an exhaustive list to share with you, but you might consider taking a look at sources such as www.theepochtimes.com, readlion.com or fee.org. They aren't perfect, but in my opinion, they are better. Don't take my word for it. Do your own research, but please try to find the most objective sources. More importantly, we know the best source for truth is the Word of God. But do we actually live that way? How much time do we spend watching the news compared to reading and understanding the Bible?
If we do watch the news, regardless of the source, we must be able to filter out the things that are not of God. If we are unable to do so, we ought to stop watching the news as a habit. The truth is, we have been listening to the wrong voices for far too long. A critical review of the mainstream media is absolutely necessary for followers of Christ. We must run to the Word of God for truth! In 1 John 4:4-6, God's Word declares... Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.