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The tragic impact of fake news

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There is a lot being said about “fake” news in our society. In his campaign for the presidency Donald Trump was constantly maligning the media for their bias and predisposition toward opinionated commentary rather than an objective reporting of the news. Is anybody reporting the real, honest, unadulterated, absolute truth?

There was a time when television news anchors seemed to be more reliable and trustworthy. Maybe I was too naïve to properly analyze the veracity of the men and women we entrusted to communicate the news in years past, but I don’t remember John Cameron Swayze or Walter Cronkite giving a slanted version of the news. There was a journalistic integrity far more apparent in days gone by than today.

There are all kinds of conspiracy theories voiced in the mainstream media, which has become frighteningly like The National Enquirer. Sensational stories, whether accurate or manufactured, attract television viewers and newspaper subscribers. The media today is driven by the primary objective of succeeding by any path to accomplish the objective. Truth is secondary to the production of a compelling story or attention-grabbing hypothesis.

The prophet Isaiah warned of a time when honesty and veracity would become incidental. He said, “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:14).

In his commentary, John Gill explains the phrase “truth is fallen in the streets,” by saying, “Where truth used to be preached, exalted, established, and confirmed, it is now thrown down and trampled upon, and few or none to help it up, and stand by it; and though it may have some secret well wishers, yet very few, if any, public advocates for it.”

We must become champions for the truth!

Sabrina Tavernise, writing for the New York Times, says, “Fake news, and the proliferation of raw opinion that passes for news, is creating confusion, punching holes in what is true, causing a kind of fun-house effect that leaves the reader doubting everything, including real news.

“There are an alarming number of people who tend to be credulous and form beliefs based on the latest thing they’ve read, but that’s not the wider problem,” said Michael Lynch, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut. “The wider problem is fake news has the effect of getting people not to believe real things.”

“He described the thinking like this: ‘There’s no way for me to know what is objectively true, so we’ll stick to our guns and our own evidence. We’ll ignore the facts because nobody knows what’s really true anyway.’”

All of that causes me to say we have a bigger problem than the national debt, maintaining a secure homeland, getting a handle on immigration, solving our health care problems, selecting judges who are strict Constitutionalists, strengthening our military, and dealing with ISIS. We have a truth problem.

Dawn Field, who writes for Oxford University Press, declares, “So, how do we maintain the integrity of our public world? We should demand that anything branded as ‘news’ be Truth. Opinions should be branded opinion. Packaging fabrications as Truth should be a punishable offense under the law. The determining factor, though, of how and when we move to a Truth-based, global society is how much we want to.

“We must revere Truth and demand it at all levels, not just the news. Science might not always get it right, but its foundation is the empirical search for the Truth.

“Where strong societal belief in Truth and its values exists, open thinking, reason, and science thrive.”

While Ms. Field’s points are well taken, the real truth, the absolute truth, God’s truth must be boldly and passionately proclaimed from the pulpits of America and from the Sunday School classes of our churches. We must lift up the truth that has “fallen in the streets.”

The quest for truth is not a simple as one might think, because we have an enemy who is the master deceiver. He is a liar and the father of lies. He is the author of every false religion, every cult, every errant philosophy, and every devilish, diabolical thought. This enemy is the Devil himself and his goal is to wrest the truth away from us and from our society.

When Jesus stood before Pilate he said, “To this end I was born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37). God wants us to know the truth. He gave us the Bible to help us understand the truth. He guides us into truth through the Holy Spirit.

God is the source of all truth, because He is present everywhere, knows all things, and totally understands what is real, right, and true. He has given us His Son who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He has also given us His Word, the Bible, which is truth without mixture of error and whatever He says in His Word is absolutely true, valid, accurate, perfect and reliable.

God is our anchor in a society of fake news, relativism, and falsehood. Do not buy into the lies of the secular, superficial culture in which we live. Live in the Word of God and “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

fake news, integrity, mass communications, media, truth

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