For the Christian faith, in which light and truth are such central images (see the lectionary readings for this Sunday), it is imperative that we take the utmost care with seeking the truth. There happened to be a revealing story in the NY Times this morning showing how Fox News manipulates and skews the news to support the Trump Administration’s interests (more in their prime-time opinion shows than in their afternoon news coverage). On the day when Republicans suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of their own party, failing to replace the ACA (“Obama Care”), Fox News hardly mentioned it during long stretches. Instead, they boasted about their exclusive coverage of a rape case in MD, in which one of two assailants was an immigrant. Rape is terrible. Although the rate of sexual assaults have dropped, there are still some 70,000 or more sexual assaults each year. It’s not clear to me why Fox decided that this one rape case was such an important story, except that they touted it’s relevance to Trump’s anti-immigration policy.
Anyway, the Times piece is fascinating. I am sure one could do a similar study of an equivalently irresponsible news source on the left, perhaps MSNBC. The point is, there’s something wrong with our media system (which means something wrong with the American public) when the most popular cable news outlet (Fox) exercises such deliberate ideological distortion of the news.
That’s why it’s so crucial for us to practice great care about how we “consume” the news. I offer some suggestions below. Please share your experiences, and feel free to suggest for others some quality news sources, in-depth journalism, shows about science and other non-headline coverage, and good sources for Christian thinking today.
Lenten Disciplines: Consuming Media
(March 26-April 1)
For many of us, our media interactions consume us: we become addicted to social media and to the daily/hourly news cycle. This makes us anxious, and neither wise nor happy.
One thing we can do this week is unplug (revisit Week One). Set aside time to turn off all your devices. Use that time to pray. Or give a friend your full attention in person (and insist she do likewise!). Or meditate: just listen to your mind in solitude. Or take a walk and observe the timeless rhythms of nature.
But also use your time to stay informed more wisely. Check out some in-depth journalism, or news from well-researched sources, or from a political view opposite your own. Or better yet: get out of political news and learn something about faith (or about science: try Nova on PBS!).
Careful news sources:
The New York Times (more liberal)
The Economist (more conservative)
The News Hour (PBS 6:30 pm)
BBC on NPR at 9 am, 6 pm PBS
If you are conservative, try:
If you are progressive or liberal, try:
The National Review
The Weekly Standard
For in-depth journalism:
Frontline on PBS
The New Yorker
For Intelligent Faith perspectives:
Christian Century: magazine available at church; or log on the web using “Granby UCC”; password: “Granby235!”
Or Conservative Christian sources:
Christianity Today (evangelical)
First Things (Catholic)