Friday, February 2, 2018
“Fake news” is in the news. The term immerged during the most recent U. S. Presidential campaign. Both sides of the political aisle accused the other of generating “fake” news stories to further a politic agenda.
Where did the whole “fake news” phenomenon originate? “Fake news” is the direct result of "activist" journalism. Activist journalism is a covert method of journalism used to sway public opinion to a particular cause or political candidate.
Back in the day, newspaper editors or news anchors might offer an editorial or opinion segment. The editorial was always distinguished from the news reporting.
Today, the line between editorials and genuine reporting is becoming increasingly blurred. Television news anchors feel obligated to add a personal comment following a news segment, a raised eyebrow after an interview, or a subtle shrug following a news report from the field.
Activist journalism occurs on both sides of the political aisle. Both liberals and conservatives utilize activist journalism.
How should a responsible Christian respond? 1) Research a news story before accepting it at face value. Just because it agrees with your political view doesn’t necessarily make the story true. Research both alternative media sources, as well as, mainstream media sources. 2) Just because a news story agrees with your political view, doesn’t mean it’s worthy of sharing. As a Christian, when you share unsubstantiated or even untrue news stories, you look foolish. You reflect negatively on the name of Jesus. 3) Maintain a Biblical worldview. View everything that occurs in the world through the filter of the Scriptures. For example, God is sovereign according to the Bible. Another example is that God answers prayer. Remember these, along with other principles, as your discern truth in reporting and attempt to navigate our current American landscape. Yes, Christians should be politically informed. However, be careful what news stories you share until you know they are true.
“ . . . Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another” (Ephesians 5:25).