I grew up watching Walter Cronkite, Huntley Brinkley, Peter Jennings and John Chancellor. Every evening for a half hour they delivered the news, without comment or editorials – just the straight news. We had no idea if they were Republican or Democrat, so we had the privilege of forming our own opinions, based on the facts. That is no longer true.
We no longer have a national T.V news source. We all know which networks lean one direction or the other. Their on-screen personalities deliver commentary based on the news. They may give us the facts, but each network decides which facts, they will play up or play down and who they will interview who will agree with them, to drive home their point. There’s no longer even the veneer of impartiality. our news is no longer “fair and balanced,” regardless of what Fox says. And I don’t care if you are loyal to CNN, NPR, or Fox, no one should pretend to believe any news source is unbiased.
Worse yet, almost all “news” outlets are trying to make us mad about the opposition. It’s not enough to put their finger on the scales of truth, but by denying us the whole truth, they hope you’ll become as angry about the opposition as they are. Both Hannity and Cuomo need way more fiber in their diets!
Two weeks ago, I started getting a dozen Republican Instagram posts along with an equal number of quotes by famous Christians. I haven’t donated to any political party in decades. But somehow the artificial intelligence computers of the social network nailed me as a Christian and Republican. Well, what does all this have to do with following Jesus in real life?
It is human nature that if we are fed negative “news,” we will become more negative. So, Christians need to be aware of the unintentional consequences of drinking from a constant stream of anger. Here’s what the Bible gives as an antidote. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 Make a decision to cut your news watching, or listening in half. More if you’re already watching or listening to hours of angry commentary. As Biden once famously said, “Turn on the record player,” and listen to some beautiful music, go for a walk, read the Bible or a book, or call a friend for coffee.
Look for an as balanced news source, as possible. I cannot recommend higher, The World and Everything in It by World Magazine (https://worldandeverything.org/). I don’t know of any other news source that clearly “errors” on the side of a biblical worldview and Christian virtus, but also will call out leaders in both parties when they behave badly, or try to mislead us. It’s the best Christian “balanced” source of news I know. Their “Legal Docket Podcast” is a great summary of how the courts are shaping our lives, and why?
Try to watch or listen to a news source you don’t agree with. Truth is likely to be found somewhere in between your favorite “news” program and that of the other side. Listening to only one source is probably not good citizenship. One site does not have a lock on the truth. Be teachable.
Pray for wisdom. Almost every day, I talk with someone who has an opinion on the current presidential race or the latest shooting, march or bills being proposed. I pray almost every day for the wisdom how to turn the conversation from negative to positive. Rather than feeding on anger, followers of Jesus should be trying to diffuse it. That isn’t putting my head in the sand. It’s putting peacemaking gifts to work, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” And be discerning. “From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders with their relatives. All those men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.” 1 Chronicles 12:32 NLT
My last point may be the most important of all. Our older grandchildren still love Jesus, but they want nothing to do with angry, politically biased Christianity. The behavior of many right-wing evangelicals are driving young Christians away from the church. The anger they see in many “Christian” adults is completely antithetical to the Jesus they claim to love and want to imitate. Does your talk and your conversation sound like something Jesus would have said? Our children are watching us.