I am the light of the world; those that follow me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have life. John [8:12]
Originally Posted in The Reactionary Times
One of the great things in my life as an author is that I frequently get to be on radio shows. These shows air all over the country, from rural areas in Montana to the hollows of Tennessee and metropolitan areas like New York, Miami, and Boston. But the best part of doing these interviews is that I meet many wonderful journalists who care about the truth and exhibit a high degree of professionalism.
These folks are smart and always ask great questions. I always learn more from them than I give. They care about their listeners. They are passionate about what they believe and are always searching for the truth. While some look for answers to support their views, most listen to learn. They range from Zed—the cowboy from Montana, to Annie, whose own faith pours out in all she says, to Jimmy, who wants to probe deeply to understand cultural phenomenon.
But they labor in the minor leagues of journalism. They are regional broadcasters, waiting for their turn on the big stage. They are the professional minor leaguers of journalism—a committed group of professionals who belong on the big stage.
So why is it that when I turn on CNN, I only hear a liberal point of view. Why is it when I listen to Rachel Maddow, I only hear a one-sided answer. Why is it when I turn on Fox news or Lou Dobbs, I only get a conservative point of view.
It’s not just radio and TV. It happens in print as well. You pretty well know each national newspaper’s agenda from the headlines. You don’t get the full set of facts. If you want to know about Hunter Biden, you have to go to multiple sources to find the truth. CNN, the New York Times, and Fox News will say a lot but only what they want to say.
So why is there such a disparity between local and regional news and the national media. It’s all about an agenda that satisfies those who provide them money. Taking on the truth could cost them advertising revenue. Being unbiased could hurt viewership.
The reality is that the more they funnel their news to their perceived constituencies, they turn off the majority of Americans. When people turn on the news, they just want the facts. A recent poll by Monmouth University reveals that 77 percent of Americans believe the news we read is biased. This is not just a majority of Americans; To use a political term, it’s a supermajority!
As viewer and readership has gone down, our national media outlets have not responded. Instead, they have dug deeper into their base and become even less factual. It is a short-term fix that may prop up viewership for the moment but, like any quick fix, it is doomed to fail.
Huntley, Brinkley, and Cronkite are long-distant memories. On a national level, the Fourth Estate has abandoned facts to gain a narrow viewership.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. I get to meet many journalists who are appalled at the lack of journalistic integrity that exists with our national media. Sadly, they don’t get the chance to perform the honorable duty of providing journalistic integrity on a national level. Instead, they practice their trade on regional airwaves or in local newspapers. They struggle to reconcile integrity with the reality of the flawed thinking of those in the “major leagues” of modern media.
Sure, Annie can be a little emotional about her faith when she is hosting her show. But her heart is filled with truth. Maybe Jimmy gets a little rambunctious when he sees injustice, but his main goal is to inform his listeners. And maybe Jiggy Jaguar is a little unpolished, but he has the heart of a true journalist. These are the people who work in the minor leagues of journalism, but practice their trade with major league integrity.
They work to tell the truth without managing the news to fit their agenda. They probably will never get the fame they deserve. Instead, it is reserved for those who would rather satisfy large entities that insist upon a flawed agenda designed to retain a narrow base.
The reality is that mainline media is desperate for money and advertisers. They have become a business focused on production and not serving the public. Ironically, in their zeal to desperately hold on to readers and viewers they lose them.
Sometimes in business we have to take risks. Risks that are cemented in the truth. Risks that support the values of decency and integrity. Fear will never produce anything other than paralysis. Faith in the truth will produce encouraging results.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; those that follow me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have life” (John [8:12]). In my new book, Your Faith Has Made You Well, I explain how faith gives us the courage to do the right thing. And with this faith, we produce fruit that is good—fruit that benefits humankind.
Most of the everyday journalists I associate with follow this advice. I can only pray that their lead is followed by the national media. I can only pray that all our journalists will someday understand the value of the message from Jesus: “the truth will set you free.”
Dr. Bruce L Hartman, Christian Author and Storyteller. A former Fortune 500 CFO who left the corporate world to engage in a ministry of “Connecting The Lessons of the Gospels to the Modern Life.” His life mission is “Helping People Walk into a Brighter Future.” He is the author of Jesus & Co. and Your Faith Has Made You Well. Visit www.brucelhartman.com.