How many locks do you have protecting your property? For most of us, that probably includes locks on our front and back doors, any side doors, the garage door, a number of windows and any outdoor shed or outbuildings we might have. You probably also have locks on your fence, if you have one. And of course locks are built into every door of our vehicles, many of which also have alarms.
You may have alarms in or on your house too. I recently installed a video camera so I can see anyone approaching my front door. And like just about every other house in my neighborhood, I have a fence around my property, especially since it backs up to a community common area.
Why do we have fences, alarms and locks? The answer is obvious: We feel a need to protect our property—our homes, our loved ones, those things that are valuable to us. And we rightly go to considerable effort and expense to protect them.
But how much effort and expense do you put into protecting something far more valuable— your mind?
How important to you is protecting your thinking and that of your loved ones, including your children if you’re a parent?
We would never knowingly feed our families poison or let anyone else do so. But would we—and do we—allow others to poison our own minds and thinking as well as that of our families and loved ones? The issue is truly that serious!
The importance of what and how you think
The Bible has much to say about what and how we think. This is important because what and how we think ultimately determines who and what we are.
Proverbs 4:23 Proverbs 4:23Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
American King James Version×states it this way: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Good News Translation, emphasis added throughout). Proverbs 23:7 Proverbs 23:7For as he thinks in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, said he to you; but his heart is not with you.
American King James Version×similarly tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
There’s a clear connection between what we allow into our minds, how that shapes our thoughts and how that becomes what we are. A popular saying from several decades ago put it this way: “Watch your thoughts, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
For this reason the apostle Paul gives this counsel in Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
American King James Version×: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (New Living Translation).
If we do this, it will clearly impact our thinking and perspective for the good.
Living in a world of lies
The problem—and it’s a huge one—is that we are living in a world of lies. The Bible reveals that this world is dominated by the influence of an enormously intelligent and powerful spirit being known as the devil or Satan (meaning “enemy” or “adversary”). His influence is so great that he “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×).
The primary way he does this is through lies. Jesus Christ said of him, “When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×, English Standard Version). In referring to Satan as “the father of lies,” Jesus is saying that the devil is the originator of lies and the act of lying (having lied in the Garden of Eden to Eve and, before that, likely to other angels in the rebellion he led against God).
Satan has been doing it since the dawn of time, and he’s very good at it! As a result of his lies and having “deceive[d] the whole world,” blinding them to the true knowledge of God, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×, ESV).
The tragic result, says God, is that “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land … My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:1 Hosea 4:1Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel: for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
American King James Version×, 6). People have been deceived about God. They’ve been deceived about the Bible. They’ve been deceived about God’s laws and instructions. They’ve bought into Satan’s lies instead. And as a result, they’re being destroyed.
Massive changes in media in recent decades
Why are we covering so many hot-button topics in this issue of Beyond Today magazine? Because the simple fact is, people are being lied to. They’re being deceived. They don’t know what God and the Bible say about these issues, because our news media won’t cover that. But we will, because our job is to tell you what God thinks about these issues. Our perspective is unapologetically biblical, and therefore far out of step with what you’ll see and hear from others on these subjects.
News media have changed from reporting facts to reporting opinions masquerading as facts. Let me give a little historical background: I’ve worked in mass media for nearly all of my adult life. In college I minored in journalism while working one year in a print shop and two years at a newspaper. After graduation I mostly worked on a variety of magazines for more than 40 years. For 23 years I’ve been managing editor of Beyond Today and its predecessor The Good News.
I’ll bluntly state that I’m stunned and ashamed at how news media have changed over that time. My first newspaper editor drummed into his employees the highest regard for accuracy. “You have to love the truth,” he would often say. He continually instilled in us the need to report the facts and leave out personal opinion. He demanded high standards and settled for nothing less.
Today what passes for impartial “news reporting” is embarrassing. Most publications and TV news programs no longer even make a pretense of hiding their bias. Several years ago I canceled my local newspaper after I got fed up with its steady stream of praise for illegal immigrants, transgenders, homosexual “families” and churches with homosexual leaders, intermixed with endorsements of drug legalization, tax hikes and far-left political stances that went against everything I held as Christian values.
After subscribing to a popular U.S. newsmagazine for almost 20 years, I canceled my subscription when the magazine made its leftist bias so obvious I could no longer ignore it. The magazine ran a story on a popular conservative media figure with the cover headline asking if he was “good for America?”—to which the answer was a definite no. Then, less than a month later, its cover story extolled Fidel Castro as “The Lion in Winter”—rather than a ruthless communist dictator ruling over an island prison where thousands had died for opposing him.
Highly biased media reporting
In Western societies today we’re surrounded by a 360-degree “echo chamber” of news programs, TV entertainment, cable TV, movies, music, newspapers, magazines, educational institutions, think tanks, government bureaucracy, cultural movements and Internet giants like Google and Facebook that all promote the same secular, liberal worldview—one that completely leaves God out of the picture and advances causes that are diametrically opposed to God’s instruction (see, for example, the articles in this issue on socialism, immigration, abortion and the culture war).
This is reflected in studies that show highly biased news reporting. To illustrate, a Harvard University study of media coverage of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office (during which he pursued a clear and unapologetic conservative agenda), revealed that the coverage was 80 percent negative and only 20 percent positive. In comparison, in the first 100 days of previous President Barack Obama, news coverage was 60 percent positive and only 40 percent negative.
Slanted as that coverage was, it managed to get even worse. During the four months of June through September 2018, leading up to U.S. midterm congressional elections, TV broadcast reporting on President Trump was “the most hostile coverage of a President in TV news history” at 92 percent negative, according to a new report by the Media Research Center. At the same time, highly positive news such as the nation’s booming economy and lowest unemployment rates in half a century received less than 1 percent of network news time.
The American public seems to be catching on. An October 2018 Morning Consult poll found that almost two out of three voters—64 percent—saw the media as having done more to divide the country than to unite it. It further found that only 14 percent of voters had “a lot” of confidence in newspaper outlets, and only 13 percent said this of television news.
What’s the thinking of those who tell us what to think?
These results above should not be surprising, as a Center for Public Integrity study of political donations from journalists and news organizations between January 2015 and August 2016 (leading up to the November 2016 presidential election) found that 96 percent of the total amount donated went to liberal candidate Hillary Clinton, while only 4 percent went to Donald Trump.
This also illustrates how media reporters and editors are far out of step with the values and views of the American public. The 1986 book The Media Elite reported on a major study of 240 journalists at leading media outlets, finding that 80 percent or more consistently voted for liberal (Democrat) candidates—and studies of journalists’ voting patterns since then have confirmed that pattern.
The authors also reported that only 8 percent of journalists attended any religious services weekly and that 86 percent never or seldom attended. Further, 54 percent didn’t regard adultery as wrong, and only 15 percent felt strongly that extramarital affairs were wrong. A 2001 follow-up study reported that 97 percent of media elites believe that abortion should be legal, and 75 percent agreed that “homosexuality is as acceptable as heterosexuality.”
The Los Angeles Times conducted an exhaustive study in 1985 comparing attitudes of 3,000 reporters and editors with a similar number of members of the general public on such issues as abortion, hiring homosexuals, affirmative action, income inequality, school prayer, the death penalty for convicted murderers, gun rights, defense spending and government regulation of business.
What did the study reveal? On every issue but one, the responses of the press were more liberal than the general public —often markedly so. An overwhelming majority—from 81 to 89 percent—supported abortion, affirmative action and hiring homosexuals. And that was more than 30 years ago!
A final statistic here—out of dozens that could be cited—is that of the 59 major U.S. newspapers that endorsed a 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, only two endorsed the eventual winner, Donald Trump. The others overwhelmingly supported liberal candidate Hillary Clinton.
What do we learn from these and other studies of the attitudes and outlook of those telling us what to think? A brief summary would be that they overwhelmingly support abortion, larger and more intrusive government, socialist redistribution of wealth, unrestricted immigration, special rights for homosexuals and transgenders, lighter criminal punishment and greater sexual permissiveness.
We see this in what they say, which is slanted, but also in what they choose to cover or not cover. For example, it’s very difficult to find news reports on the enormous costs incurred by illegal immigration and progressive platforms such as universal health care and “free” college tuition, illegal immigrant crime or illegal immigrants as a source of diseases long vanquished in the West, the high health risks associated with homosexual lifestyles, the high suicide rates among transgenders, or the persecution of Christians around the world (sometimes by Western governments!).
In light of all this, why should we let such people tell us what to think? We should heed God’s warning in Isaiah 5:20 Isaiah 5:20Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
American King James Version×, which in many ways is a perfect description of so much of today’s media: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil”!
A powerful unseen influence behind the scenes
Who or what is really behind these anti-God, anti-biblical trends in our mass media? Who is trying to shape your mind and opinions—to tell you what to think? Is something at work that few people realize or understand? We touched on this briefly above, but much more needs to be said.
The Bible gives us information that we could not otherwise know. And it reveals the malevolent influence of an enormously powerful unseen presence hard at work trying to influence every person on earth to a different way of thinking—a way of thinking built on rejecting God and accepting a worldview built on lies.
The apostle Paul calls this unseen spiritual force “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×). The apostle John refers to him as “the great dragon … that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan” (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×).
The devil is not some cartoonish figure in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork. He is very real and far more successful at his work than most people could imagine. How successful has Satan been in his deceptive work of manipulating and shaping the thinking of all mankind? John gives us the answer: “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×). And again, this evil being “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×).
Of course, Satan isn’t so foolish as to present his ways as they really are—harmful and self-destructive, bringing suffering to all who fall for his lies. (This is spelled out in greater detail in our free study guides Is There Really a Devil? and Why Does God Allow Suffering? ) Instead, Satan “transforms himself into an angel [messenger] of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14 2 Corinthians 11:14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
American King James Version×)—as one whose ways are appealing.
Satan presents his lies as “enlightened” and “wise” when in reality they are the exact opposite. He knows how to appeal to our human way of thinking, which is hostile to God and His laws (Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×) and mostly concerned only with satisfying selfish and self-destructive desires (Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×). It’s because Satan appeals to these baser instincts that he is so successful in influencing people to follow his ways rather than God’s!
God does not allow the devil to directly destroy mankind, but Satan has devised countless ways to influence human beings to destroy ourselves. He leads nations into wars in which thousands and millions die. He deceives vast numbers of people into self-destructive habits such as substance abuse, leading to millions of premature deaths each year. He has convinced millions of women that it’s acceptable to kill their own unborn children. He leads others into harmful lifestyles, condemned in Scripture, that commonly lead to serious diseases and other afflictions that drastically shorten their lifespans.
These are only some of his deceptions. False religions, the theory of evolution, naturalism and other such belief systems have enslaved humanity in darkness for centuries. Satan understands that if he can’t kill off mankind through war, self-inflicted disease and destructive lifestyles, then he can shift his focus to keeping mankind deceived.
The apostle Paul tells us the devil has successfully “blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×, New International Version). He is determined to keep human beings deceived and confused, filling their minds with destructive and corrupting biases that separate them from God and cut them off from right knowledge and ways of thinking.
In Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:2Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
American King James Version×Paul calls Satan “the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient” (New Revised Standard Version). Here, many centuries before the invention of television and radio, Paul showed that this evil being transmits what we might call a “spiritual broadcast” of attitudes and moods to which human minds are naturally tuned and that are rebellious toward God (see Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×).
Of course, as “the god of this age” and the being who “deceives the whole world,” Satan is also the ruler and manipulator hard at work behind the scenes utilizing the world’s media—TV, movies, music, news, the Internet, books, magazines, games, you name it—to promote thinking and behavior that is directly contrary to God’s instructions.
This is how he has drastically reshaped the opinions of people the world over about behavior and lifestyles that were widely recognized as sinful and harmful only a few years ago. This is how he has deceived the whole world and brought it under his destructive influence.
But we are not helpless pawns. By surrendering our lives to God, repenting of accepting Satan’s deceptions and filling our minds with God’s Word, and sincerely asking for God’s help, we can follow the sound teaching of James 4:7-8 James 4:7-8 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
American King James Version×: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
May we all listen to and heed that instruction!
The Mesmerizing Spell of Self Absorbed Entertainment
The apostle Paul wrote of a major trend in the last days in which mass media plays a major role.
“But mark this,” Paul wrote shortly before his death, around A.D. 67: “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4 2 Timothy 3:1-4 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
American King James Version×, New International Version).
Does this sound familiar? Each of these awful traits can be found in the daily menu of American entertainment devoured by two billion minds focused on televisions around the world. Welcome to the age of crude amusements and pandering to lust—24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lust for violence, self-glorification, sex without the commitment of marriage, vicarious indulgence in forbidden fruit without the consequences—these are the themes of the comedies, soap operas, dramas and talk shows that constitute the moral equivalent of a sewer flooding human minds. It’s reminiscent of the sated ancient Roman crowds all over again watching the doomed die in the Colosseum.
The motive for so much filth is simple— money. Delivering eyes to advertisers is the primary objective of network executives. Programming that most effectively hooks the largest audience features fast-paced content centered on a mesmerizing diet of sex, lust, greed and irreverent and profane humor. It’s a sure bet to keep an audience glued to the tube. Produce such material and you make money.
If you own the movie and TV production rights to sex, lust and greed, you make more money. If you own cable and satellite systems, online video distribution systems and magazines, you make even more money— lots and lots of money. It’s no wonder we’ve seen so many mergers in recent years as media providers seek greater control over what consumers see, hear and read.
God says to any who are caught up in the end-time materialistic system, mindset and culture that pervades the world, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4 Revelation 18:4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.
American King James Version×).
The way to come out is to recognize where our materialistic, self-obsessed entertainment and media are leading us. Turn off the consumption; turn away from the self-obsessed way of life promoted by our global media system. Instead, turn to God and His Word, the Bible. Remember, God recorded these warnings to us for a reason!
Types of Media Bias to Be Alert For
Media bias takes a number of forms. The job of reporters and editors is to present an objective and balanced story or report, but few do—resulting in bias or slanted stories. With careful attention, you can train yourself to spot the most common types of bias. Here are brief descriptions of some to help you recognize biased reports:
Spin: This occurs when a report or story provides only one view or interpretation of a story and omits all others. The reporter presents only one side, wanting and expecting you to accept his or her view by excluding other perspectives. To determine if it’s spin, see if the overall thrust promotes a liberal or conservative agenda to the exclusion of the other.
Editorializing: This happens when a reporter injects personal opinion into his or her reporting. Reporters should objectively report the news and leave personal opinions to the opinion pages or newscast opinion sections. Today’s reporters often blur those lines, presenting personal opinion as fact.
Story Selection: Many media outlets present a pattern of emphasizing news reports that support one side of an issue over the other. For example, most media outlets give extensive coverage to abortion-rights marches and protests while ignoring pro-life marches. Similarly, most outlets give illegal immigrants sympathetic coverage while failing to cover immigrant crime and the high cost to taxpayers for providing housing, food, health care and education to immigrants.
Story and Important Information Placement: It’s common for newspapers and TV news reports to give prominent placement to events that support their worldview and/or agenda and to downplay items that don’t support those views. This also happens within the stories themselves, where a preferred viewpoint is given prominent placement and other views are buried deep within the story or not included at all.
Selection of Sources : Reporters should include a balanced, objective mix of sources to inform readers and viewers. Biased reporters instead use biased sources, often failing to identify them as such. To use a recent U.S. example, several women who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of decades-old sexual misbehavior were never identified by most media outlets as liberal activists intent on preserving abortion rights. An unbiased reporter would’ve noted this relevant background in repeating their claims. A variation of this is to label some sources as liberal or conservative, but to fail to identify others, leading readers and viewers to assume they are neutral and objective—when their views are far from it.
Omission : This involves covering one side or view and leaving out other pertinent views or information. It’s common to see this in individual articles as well as in overall coverage of a topic over time. Common U.S. examples are the positive media coverage given to socialist political candidates advocating “free” college and health care, while omitting any serious discussion of the enormous costs and how to pay for them, and obscuring the religious motivation behind the many jihadist terrorist attacks.
—Scott Ashley (adapted from How to Identify Liberal Media Bias from the Media Research Center)
A Startling New York Times Admission of Its Own Bias
The New York Times isn’t just any newspaper. With the largest weekly circulation in America, it is the nation’s most influential newspaper, regarded as America’s “newspaper of record.” But it is also a news organization, owning 18 other newspapers, a radio station and more than 50 websites. Its International Weekly standalone supplement is shared by 34 newspapers in 25 countries. Its syndicated articles and opinion pieces appear in hundreds of regional newspapers around the country and the world.
No matter where you live or travel, a glance at the local newspaper may reveal articles, editorials and opinion pieces generated by New York Times staff. That wouldn’t be a problem if the Times (and other news organizations) did their job of simply reporting the news. The danger is when they selectively report the news or slant it to promote their own social agenda that opposes biblical values.
In that light, the following are surprising admissions from Daniel Okrent, then the Times’ public editor (whose job is to identify and correct errors and omissions and implement proper journalistic ethics and practices), in a July 25, 2004 column titled, “Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?”
“Of course it is,” he begins (emphasis added throughout).
“The fattest file on my hard drive is jammed with letters from the disappointed, the dismayed and the irate who find in this newspaper a liberal bias that infects not just political coverage but a range of issues from abortion to zoology to the appointment of an admitted Democrat to be its watchdog. (That would be me.) …
“For now my concern is the flammable stuff that ignites the right. These are the social issues: gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others. And if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you’ve been reading the paper with your eyes closed …
“If you are among the groups The Times treats as strange objects to be examined on a laboratory slide (devout Catholics, gun owners, Orthodox Jews, Texans) … a walk through this paper can make you feel you’re traveling in a strange and forbidding world.
“Start with the editorial page, so thoroughly saturated in liberal theology that when it occasionally strays from that point of view the shocked yelps from the left overwhelm even the ceaseless rumble of disapproval from the right …
“In the Sunday magazine, the culture-wars applause-o-meter chronically points left … The culture pages often feature forms of art, dance or theater that may pass for normal (or at least tolerable) in New York but might be pretty shocking in other places.
“Same goes for fashion coverage, … where I’ve encountered models who look like they’re preparing to murder (or be murdered), and others arrayed in a mode you could call dominatrix chic …
“In the Sunday Styles section, there are gay wedding announcements, of course, but also downtown sex clubs and T-shirts bearing the slogan, ‘I’m afraid of Americans.’ … The front page of the Metro section has featured a long piece best described by its subhead, ‘Cross-Dressers Gladly Pay to Get in Touch with Their Feminine Side.’ …
“Newspapers have the right to decide what’s important and what’s not. But their editors must also expect that some readers will think: ‘This does not represent me or my interests. In fact, it represents my enemy.’ So is it any wonder that the offended or befuddled reader might consider everything else in the paper—including, say, campaign coverage— suspicious as well? …
“The gay marriage issue provides a perfect example. Set aside the editorial page, the columnists or the lengthy article in the magazine … that compared the lawyers who won the Massachusetts same-sex marriage lawsuit to Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King …
“For those who also believe the news pages cannot retain their credibility unless all aspects of an issue are subject to robust examination, it’s disappointing to see The Times present the social and cultural aspects of same-sex marriage in a tone that approaches cheerleading. So far this year, front-page headlines have told me that ‘For Children of Gays, Marriage Brings Joy’ … ; that the family of ‘Two Fathers, With One Happy to Stay at Home’ … is a new archetype; and that ‘Gay Couples Seek Unions in God’s Eyes’ …
“Every one of these articles was perfectly legitimate. Cumulatively, though, they would make a very effective ad campaign for the gay marriage cause. You wouldn’t even need the articles: run the headlines over the invariably sunny pictures of invariably happy people that ran with most of these pieces, and you’d have the makings of a life insurance commercial.
“This implicit advocacy is underscored by what hasn’t appeared. Apart from one excursion into the legal ramifications of custody battles … potentially nettlesome effects of gay marriage have been virtually absent from The Times since the issue exploded last winter …
“In The Times, I have learned next to nothing about these issues, nor about partner abuse in the gay community, about any social difficulties that might be encountered by children of gay couples or about divorce rates (or causes, or consequences) …
“On a topic that has produced one of the defining debates of our time, Times editors have failed to provide the three-dimensional perspective balanced journalism requires … Readers with a different worldview will find The Times an alien beast.”
These admissions are startling and true—perhaps too true, as the author was gone from the position less than a year later (and The New York Times has since eliminated the public editor job).
The next time you contemplate reading a newspaper or newsmagazine, or accepting what you’re told on TV, keep in mind that many news outlets take their cues from The New York Times. And considering these admissions from the individual responsible for identifying and eradicating bias from The Times ’content and implementing proper ethics, can you—and should you—trust and accept what they’re feeding you?
What Can You Do to Guard Your Heart and Mind?
Because God created us, He knows what makes us tick, how we best learn and what is mentally healthy for us. The world’s media outlets are a means of communicating information. However, the way they are used, and the content they carry, can be helpful and positive, neutral or enormously destructive.
Paul said we should be aware of conditions around us (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 1 But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail on a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
American King James Version×). However, before you accept an important headline or story as gospel truth, question it and reserve judgment—and maybe even take time to research it on the Internet if it pertains to an issue that’s important to you. Compare it with other sources and perspectives on the same subject.
With some digging you may find other media sources, such as better-researched newspaper and magazine articles, that can supply you with a more-accurate perspective on the story. Some Internet sources (free as of this writing), such as Media Research Center (MRC.org), TheHill.com, Newsmax.com, NationalReview.com and WeeklyStandard.com often cover stories ignored by most media outlets and present alternative perspectives on many major stories and situations.
Major TV networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN, and major newspapers such as The New York Times, do at times present stories that are unbiased. But when it comes to stories that bear on moral values and ideology—and these are the most important stories—the major networks often present them with a liberal or ungodly spin that does not well serve their audiences. Fox News is currently the only conservative-leaning major television news network, though its reporting and commentary cannot always be trusted either.
Of course, your best source for the unbiased truth as it relates to the world we live in is your Bible. It is the source that shapes the perspective of Beyond Today . This magazine’s tagline, A Magazine of Understanding , is there for good reason. Our primary purpose is to help you see major trends and events through the perspective of the Bible, helping you see them as God views them. It is our goal to make it the most biblically relevant and revealing publication on earth. But we encourage you to check the Bible references—to make sure we accurately present what God has to say.
Who is telling you what to think? It should be God through His Word, not misguided human beings motivated by their social or moneymaking agendas. God alone possesses the wisdom we need to give us a clear perspective of what’s going on around us in these dangerous times. Jesus, in praying to our Heavenly Father, said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
American King James Version×). He also says to us, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32 John 8:32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
American King James Version×).
More and more, modern media direct us away from the truth of God and toward Satan’s deceptions. What can you do? You can turn to God in prayer and ask Him to open your eyes to His truth, to set you free from the subtle darkness that envelops “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×). God promises to answer those who sincerely set their hearts to find Him (Jeremiah 29:12-13 Jeremiah 29:12-13 12 Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.
American King James Version×).
You then need to allow God to instruct you—first and foremost through your own study of His Word, the Holy Bible. The publishers of Beyond Today offer biblically based media sources—such as this magazine, our Bible Study Course, study guides on many topics and our Beyond Today television program—to help you see and understand things from God’s perspective as revealed in Scripture. We also offer commentary on current events and many other topics on our website—ucg.org/beyond-today .
With our individual cooperation, God can teach us what to think and do and how to avoid seduction by the harmful messages of the modern mainstream media.
As you consider whether to accept the newspapers’ or television news programs’ version of the truth, or whether to view the violence and vulgarity on television and movie screens, or hear the seductive, suggestive lyrics of many songs, be sure to ask yourself who is telling you what to think—and whether you should listen!