In this age of media overload with so many sources of news and information, how can one have confidence in the sources as trustworthy? Indeed, in any news medium where facts are presented and judgments pronounced, how can one know if the judgments were rendered correctly? In the right hands, words, pictures, and now video can be extremely powerful tools used to sway individual as well as public opinion; and although presently challenged by alternative sources, it is still a fact that the mainstream media remains the dominant source of news and information in our society today. The power they wield is considerable and the public would do well to establish in their minds the veracity and impartiality of these news sources.
There has been much discussion these past many years about mainstream media bias in favor of liberal causes and politicians. The admitted voting preferences of the vast majority of those in the media and their self-proclaimed aspirations to make a difference in the world by advancing liberal causes leave no doubt as to their allegiances; the only doubt remaining is their willingness and ability to prevent those allegiances from influencing their journalism. Knowing human nature, it would seem a Herculean task; for even if they made a deliberate effort for balance in their analysis and reporting, their mindset would render much of that effort void. Imbued with the righteousness of their liberal worldview, they lack the ability to visualize the opposing viewpoint as a legitimate alternative. They would be unable to prevent themselves from writing eloquently and passionately about the side of any issue to which they have committed their hearts and minds. They will attempt and, at times, achieve balance; but over the long haul of a journalistic career, they will be unable to do so consistently. The content of their writing as well as their choice of news items to cover will show their true colors. The recent emergence of influential conservative news organizations has lead to legitimate charges of bias in the opposite direction. However, because the overwhelming majority of the media is still firmly in the liberal camp, the charges are at present inconsequential.
An illustrative example might shed some light on just how the news media can influence a reader’s opinions without the reader fully understanding or consenting to the change. Over thirty years ago, this writer experienced an epiphany while reading an article in a popular weekly news magazine extolling the benefits of amniocentesis. The article briefly described the procedure and then went on to explain the many diagnostic breakthroughs made possible by this miracle of modern science. It even went on to say that since the introduction of this procedure into widespread medical practice the incidence of Down Syndrome births has been dramatically reduced. Since no causal relationship was mentioned in the article, this writer’s hasty and uncertain conclusion was that amniocentesis was somehow able to effect a cure of Down Syndrome. Of course it does not; and were it not for the decision to spend a few futile moments trying to imagine how it were possible, this writer would have simply turned the page and moved on to other articles with a newly minted positive impression of amniocentesis. But a few seconds later, the realization of the presence of an eight hundred pound gorilla in the room, a gorilla that went by the name of Abortion, instantly brought everything into sharp focus. The failure to attribute the improved Down Syndrome statistics to legalized abortion, one of the cornerstones of the liberal worldview, made this writer understand he had been subtly manipulated by what was omitted from the article as well as by what was included. From that point on, a much more critical eye was used in reading and watching the news; and it quickly became apparent that the deceit in the offending article described above was the rule rather than the exception.
A confirmation of the above conclusions can be found in, of all places, The New York Times. Long regarded within journalistic circles as the American newspaper of record, The Times has found itself for many years in a unique position of influence over other print, internet, and broadcast news organizations. As Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist has stated “The first thing they did at CBS every morning was to open up the New York Times to figure out what they will be presenting on the Evening News.” The paper’s motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print”, sets the journalistic standard by which other news outlets judge a news item worthy of coverage. It is thus particularly significant when an editor of that newspaper criticizes the Old Gray Lady for transgressions against honest and balanced reporting. In his final column on August 25, 2012 as public editor of The New York Times, Arthur S. Brisbane offers an insider’s perspective on the liberal mindset and worldview of the writing staff: “When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times. As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.”
There is no scarcity of media whistleblowers from within its own ranks; men and women who saw firsthand the liberal bias and exposed the hypocrisy. These brave souls suffered the resultant vilification and marginalization at the hands of their former tolerant, inclusive, and compassionate colleagues. An internet search will produce a significant number of results for anyone interested in pursuing this line of inquiry.
Without the presence of healthy and numerous conservative news organizations with significant subscription bases and viewership, the heavily leftward leaning mainstream media will have no reason to change. Indeed, it may be they are incapable of change, regardless of competition and free market conditions, because so many of them are ardent ideologues. Since those conditions of healthy competition will not materialize anytime soon, the average consumer of news would do well to keep several things in mind the next time he invites the news media to walk around inside his mind. The bias he encounters may present itself in the form of a journalist subconsciously presenting the news with a liberal slant because that is the way the writer naturally sees and understands events; or it may present itself in the form of a conscious attempt to manipulate the reader. If that is the case, the first thing to be mindful of is the fact that he who frames the debate will likely prevail. They frame the debate in the reader’s mind by presenting a carefully choreographed sequence of well thought out ideas, quotes, questions, and answers leading the reader down a logical and often emotional path to the proper liberal conclusion. The conclusion will often be presented in the most positive light, as the highest good; but hidden between all the inspiring words can be found the partial truths that conceal the darkness enshrouding the conclusions. Deviations from the path are difficult to achieve if one is not aware of the subtle manipulation directing the reader’s thoughts and feelings. In addition to critically examining the content, the reader must also bear in mind that the very news item being presented may have no intrinsic newsworthiness. It may simply have been prepared as a vehicle to advance the news organization’s liberal agenda.
One must always keep foremost in one’s mind that the liberal mindset, the driving force behind the mainstream media, will not rest until it has firmly entrenched itself in all aspects of our lives. It has never been enough for them to simply be accepted as they are, they must coerce all into agreeing with their views. The religious zeal, the condescension, and the hatred they exhibit in their efforts to proselytize American society is frightening to behold. Their de facto control of both the news and entertainment industries makes them a formidable adversary, as evidenced by the apparently inexorable decline of Christianity and concomitant rise of secular humanism over the past several generations.
The only defense against this relentless assault is to be armed with a moral compass that will never waver, never fail, a sure guide through the treacherous seas of moral relativism. The media present themselves as angels of light; their sirens’ song seemingly filled with goodness, compassion, tolerance, and irrefutable logic. But in reality, they offer only hubris and fleeting pleasure. Examined under the light of truth, the stench of corruption and death becomes evident.
The moral compass is, of course, the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. The truth can only be found in one place, in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. With Him as guide, no sophisticated arrangement of words will be able to confuse. The true intent of the words will be laid bare.
“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 14,15
Copyright © The Penitent Witness, 2012. All rights reserved worldwide.