by Karla Perry
“The truth is still half an hour behind the slander and no one can be certain when or where it will catch up with it,” wrote G.K. Chesterton in his famous Father Brown mysteries. Modern media, not all that different from the journalism of Chesterton’s day, is inundated with questionable content now popularly dubbed as “fake news.”
The sources today range from recognized media conglomerates to independent bloggers. Unlike Chesterton’s day, news is instant. We can know what is happening while it is happening anywhere in the world. On one hand, watching an event live gives anyone and everyone the opportunity to see the facts first hand without waiting for a news report on the event.
On the other hand, instant news means information is consumed and believed before it has been confirmed. Chesterton opined in Father Brown that, “a positively incredible number of people read the first issue of the paper and not the second.” The information consumed in the moments to days following a news worthy event are likely to have been sorted out and corrected in the weeks that followed, and yet social media has moved on to the next momentous event.
Our modern challenge is to handle media responsibly. We cannot throw it off as merely fake news, or else we lose the power of the press designed as a protection against government power. It may, in fact, be more powerful being biased against an administration, than to be biased in alignment with an administration. Freedom of the press is an essential right of the people. If the press loses its voice, we lose one of our important constitutional safeguards. Freedom of the Press is just as important as The Right to Bear Arms.
No institution is beyond redemption. If you place lamps in a dark room, the darkness is expelled. The more Christians serve in journalism the more light pervades the darkness. Christian service means practicing honesty, integrity, and excellence in journalism.
We often look at Christians in the marketplace as Christians evangelizing their co-workers or customers. Christians in the marketplace ought to make a better marketplace. Christians in journalism ought to produce better journalism. The journalism we produce is for the world, not niche journalism for our own interests. We must tell the truth and tell it better than anyone else.
Francis Schaeffer wrote in his book How Should We Then Live, “whoever controls the media, controls the culture.” In other words, the worldview of the media will be the worldview of the culture. We think the media is secular because they keep Christians out. The truth is that the media is secular because Christians are not in it, or because they are not bringing Christ to it. The darkness cannot stop someone from turning on the light.
If we look back through history, we will see that each area of culture was dark before it was light. Christians created some institutions of culture, but before they existed there was darkness. We cannot let the darkness keep the truth at bay. Jesus gave us the Kingdom so that we could turn on the light everywhere we go, thereby immersing the world in the truth of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What better place to turn on the light than in one of the institutions that shapes all of culture.
Karla Perry, is a worldview revitalizer and the author of Back to the Future: Rebuilding America’s Stability. She is an avid writer with a penetrating and thought-provoking style. Karla helps people develop healthy worldviews through kingdom-based thinking. Her articles are published regularly in The MorningStar Journal and through The Oak Initiative. Karla lives with her husband, Joseph, in Virginia Beach, VA, where they lead Remnant Ministries, a member of the MorningStar Fellowship of Churches. You can find more of Karla’s work at www.karlaperry.com.