Posts Tagged ‘media’

Okay step one in creating a successful blog post, “write a controversial headline…” and check! This is also the way to gauge how many people read beyond the headline. The amount of hate mail I get will show me.

Fox News lies… I was at my very first conference for our denomination. There was yet another debate over one of several issues that threaten to tear us apart, when a man who I’ve since come to know and respect, (I have the ability to respect people even when I disagree with them) strode to the microphone and shouted “Fox News Lies!” I got myself in a little trouble over that because I was chronicling my experience at the conference in cartoons, and I made one of this incident and posted it online. People to the other side of the issue in question reposted it (among others) to their site and, well let’s just say my site got a lot of attention that day, much of which was negative. Lesson learned.

Here’s the thing, to an extent he was right. Fox News does lie, and so do CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the list goes on and on. You see at one point, you turned on the news, and the reporters could be trusted to tell you what happened. Somewhere along the way, an ideological shift happened.

My suspicion is it happened because the media became somewhat elitist and began to consider themselves to be better and smarter than their audience, the great unwashed, us. They began to “realize” that it was not enough to tell us what happened, but they had to interpret it for us, so that we would understand, and that’s when they started lying. They stopped telling what happened and started telling us what to think. At that point it stopped being about reporting and started to become about advancing an agenda, the house agenda of the network. The by-product of this was that they started to try to destroy and discredit those who dared to disagree.

I honestly don’t believe they think they’re lying, rather they look at all things as to how they relate to the agenda. Add to this they have to feed the beast of a 24 hour news cycle, compete for ratings, and all of the sudden controversy and discord are good for business. We see the fruit of this everywhere we turn. The thing is a very wise man once said “A house divided cannot stand.” His name was Jesus. He’s also the one who said, “I am the truth.” And therein lies the key. In a world where “truth” seems to be becoming fluid, God’s Word is the truth we can depend on.

Those of us who are Christian creatives have been entrusted with, and gifted for, communicating the truth. We can’t afford to get caught up in all this divisive stuff. We need to keep majoring in the majors and communicating the truth that sets men free. Here’s the truth, the media lies because they’re human, and we humans are all susceptible to adopting agendas, so the best thing we can do is grab the right agenda. Truth is not really fluid. Truth is a person, namely Jesus Christ, so let’s use all our gifts to advance His agenda. In a world of lies, let’s be a voice of truth.

A friend of mine on Facebook shared this yesterday and it bears repeating. Did you ever notice there seem to be some people who have a vested interest in keeping us angry? Here’s what Cindy Fetty-Lawliss has to say about it.

“In my feed today
From the right: mass hysteria about Starbucks kicking out officers, Colin Kapernick telling Nike not to make the Betsy Ross shoes, and all the things that need to be boycotted based on these things
From the left: racism revolving around Disney movie character, Trump misspoke at 4th of July in a rediculous way, and all the reasons we need to be angry at Trump and white America.
Am I completely crazy, or is there something out there that wants us to be angry at each other all the time. I am calling propaganda on all of it. I’m tired of letting bots and ad space fuel my feelings. Someone is paying to make us mad. I’m not buying.”

I felt the need to add a comment.

“DING, DING, DING… We have a winner! You nailed it sister. Follow the money. Peace and love are better, but you know what they don’t generate? REVENUE. So the media knows their constituency and reports accordingly. An angry populace keeps watching. Watching increases ratings. Ratings drive advertising revenues. Advertising revenues equal MONEY AND MONEY IS POWER at least in their world! They gain wealth, power and authority by keeping us at each other’s throats and as a result they cannot (with some exceptions) be trusted. Big media is bad, social media is worse, because too often we share things ad infinitum without considering whether or not they’re true. (“You shall not bear false witness, remember?) What should we do instead? It’s nose to the grindstone time. It’s speak the truth in love time. It’s love your neighbor time and dare I say it, it’s SPREAD THE GOSPEL TIME! Thanks for posting this!”

Brothers and sisters, as followers of Jesus, we are in the “truth business,” especially since God has given us gifts that are often related to communication. It is our job to speak that truth in love. Not trying to anger others, not trying to win others to our side, but speaking the truth. If the truth offends, that is really the problem of the offended, unless we are saying it in such a way as to be deliberately offensive. One of the great ways to check yourself is with a few questions, such as:

• As I share this, do I have the person’s best interests at heart?
• Do I care about them and am I trying to genuinely help them?
• Am I treating this person like I would if I knew Jesus was watching/reading and would He be pleased? (Because He is watching/reading.)

Friends there are a lot of things in this world that need a comment, and more than a few on which we should take a stand, but which stand. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the eternal thing and a good eternity requires Jesus. Will your action, post, comment or creation bring someone closer to Jesus or drive them further away?

Keep the main thing, the main thing?

The old adage says a picture is worth a thousand words. I believe that’s true, as a matter of fact the word count may be a little low, but what about pictures with words? I’m of the belief that when we add words to pictures, their power can increase exponentially. No I’m not talking about adding captions to masterpieces. I’m talking about memes and cartoons. I don’t think we really understand the power in these little pictures with words. Hitler did.

It’s said the among the first moves Hitler made against the Jewish people was to begin dehumanizing them through cartoons and caricatures, slowly desensitizing the populace to the atrocities he intended. Dehumanizing people makes them easier to vilify and even kill and it all started with words with pictures.

Consider our social media culture and be honest. How much of your world view is influenced by the memes you see? Face it we live in a chaotic, “sound-bite” world. We don’t have time to read the whole article and get the big picture, so we settle for the bite from the little picture. We used to call it the “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version” but today’s media culture gives us the RDCV condensed even further, and the results have been devastating to our culture, at least in this writer’s opinion. What’s even more concerning is people used to have to find someone to publish their nastiness, but now it can spread to the world for free with the click of a button.

So why do I share this? I mean most of you know my favorite art form is cartooning, the combination of words and pictures I have been lamenting. Am I shooting myself in the foot? Hardly—no what I am saying is that the same things that have the power for great evil can also be used for great good. We can use our work to communicate simple messages of peace, love and hope, maybe even the Gospel! If these little bites can be used to tear people down, they can also be used to build up. The can be used to shine light on goodness and life and truth. Why not use what some mean for evil to communicate that which is good and right and true. After all, the evidence is really clear.

Words and pictures combined have great power, and with great power comes great responsibility. Let’s go do some good.

truthI spend a fair amount of time on here talking about telling stories. I believe it’s a great way to communicate a message and many parables seem to tell us Jesus agrees. One thing we have to be careful of though is that the stories we tell are true. A local collegiate newspaper ran a story on how the school was putting mind controlling drugs in the water???? Seems a bit unlikely to me, especially since the author was anonymous. Someone needs to run a fact-checking class for the editors of said publication, but I digress.

Then a little earlier today, I saw a story from a major online news source alluding to the “fact” that one of the presidential candidates, Rand Paul, does not have a college degree. My first thought was if he has risen to the level he has achieved, he doesn’t need one, and if he is smart enough to get people to elect him president, he’s probably smart enough to do the job. I know many people will not agree with my thoughts on this, and I am fairly sure this is what the new source is banking on. People who would take the time to read the story, would see that while he does not have a bachelor’s degree, he is an ophthalmologist by training. How does one become a doctor without a degree? Well in Paul’s case, he basically tested out of college and was accepted to his medical school before finishing his bachelor’s. This changes the whole story doesn’t it?

This particular media channel seems to have been banking on something I’ve learned after 30 years in the field of communications… People don’t read. They seem to have wanted to discredit Mr. Paul by sharing a half truth in the beginning, and then burying the whole truth further down, knowing the vast majority of people won’t read that far. This to me is unconscionable.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not about politics. I know very little about Mr. Paul and I have no idea if he is a viable candidate or not. This is about something bigger than politics. This is about checking your sources. Knowing what you believe and who you can trust. In general this is about the supremacy of truth. Unless we are creating works of utter fiction, the truth is important. I know it can be tempting to overlook some facts, to move an agenda forward, but the other name of a half truth is a lie. For those of us who follow Christ, the importance of this is compounded many times over.  We after all are supposed to be followers of the One who said “I am the truth…” Truth matters, and for those of us who’ve been entrusted with the greatest truth ever, it’s essential. People catch us in half truths and they will question everything we say, with disastrous results. The truth is pure. Add to it or take from it and it ceases to be truth. People need the truth, and yes Jack Nicholson, when it comes to the Gospel, we CAN handle the truth. Watch your sources. Check your sources. Tell the truth.

Remember what Jesus said, “…The truth will set you free.”