Over the years, I’ve learned not to trust the media. Like the
time former CT State Gov. John Rowland was going through his troubles prior to his first jail term. Several of us planned to go to the capital to pray for our state and for the governor and his family. When we arrived, the media was everywhere. A NY Times reporter walked up to me and said, “So…how well do you know the governor?” “Well,” I replied, “I’m not on his Christmas list, but we know each other.” “No,” she clarified, “I mean did he ASK you to come here today?”
I knew immediately that she was looking to claim that the Gov. was trying to look innocent by surrounding himself with clergy. “No,” I answered, “He’s probably more surprised by our coming today than you are.” She flipped her notebook closed, walked away, and printed a story the next day suggesting that the Gov. had called us all there—even though I assured her otherwise. She’d already written the story in her head and was just looking for someone to corroborate it.
Unfortunately, much has changed since I began freelance writing some 35 years ago or so. The news media is mostly interested in news editorial or commentary. It's hard to get the truth--or just the facts on a story.
I've talked a lot about this on my "Pondering" radio show (Weekdays 8-9:00 AM Eastern, Look for ponderingradio on Facebook or listen to past podcasts at mixcloud.com). Many folks--especially conservative Christians--have tuned-out all together and pay little to no attention to the news.
And, while I understand tht it's less frustrating to just avoid the media, we ARE responsible to pray for our leaders. Furthermore, in the US, we have government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." This means WE are the leaders and thus must stay informed.
Here are a few tips/thoughts to consider:
1. Think! Don't just listen...think. Whenever I hear a news report, I think, "Who does this benefit? Why is this being reported now? Who is reporting it and what history/bias do they have?
2. Sort! Don't just swallow something because it comes from a mainstream media source. I like listening to the BBC or other foreign sources. I also like mixing things up--Fox News one day, NPR the next. Having multiple sources is wise.
3. Talk! Discuss the news with others "in the know." I love talk radio for this purpose.
The bottom line is that we shouldn't be believing all that we hear. We need to be, as Jesus put it, "Wise as serpents, but harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16)."