The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Social Media”

How to Distrust the Media

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By Andrew Isker

I often hear something like this said, “you have to assume the mass media are usually lying.” I don’t think this is true. Not because I think it is false, but because I think it is simplistic. The media obviously doesn’t create a totally false reality that the average person could readily recognize is just not so. The world they create in print, on the internet, and on TV is mostly true, just not entirely true. They introduce just barely enough falsehood that only those who are consciously discerning can recognize it. And usually any discernment practiced when watching and reading the news is only done through a left-right grid. If you are liberal, Fox News is obviously neoconservative propaganda and MSNBC is where you go to get he truth. If you are conservative, MSNBC puts a pinko-homosexual slant on everything whereas Fox News will straighten everything out. Rarely does anyone question whether their news channel or website is consistently not giving you the whole story.

Of course, anyone who urges someone to be more discerning with all corporate media will be treated as a paranoid conspiracy theorist. To be honest, many who are skeptical of all corporate media will treat cluttered websites with blogspot.com or .biz in the address as though they were gospel. This is clearly no better than believing all that flows from the lips of Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly is true truth. What I am urging you to do is treat the billion Dollar corporate media with as much skepticism as you would a website your tin-foil-hat-wearing cousin frantically sends you a link to at 3 am.

One of the major problems with corporate media is that they are quick to accept even the weakest explanations that the government gives for anything, yet are quick to condemn the most basic journalistic inquiry into the doings of the government as “conspiracy theory.” Why don’t they ever label press releases from the White House, Pentagon, or State Department as “conspiracy theory”? The more paranoid will begin to see conspiracies themselves, which is foolish. Corporate media sidle up to the government because access is the currency of the prominent 21st Century American journalist. A good example to corroborate this can be found in coverage of not politics but sports.

I have watched and read the sports page since I was a teenager. I listened to sports reporters on TV and the radio even before that. Everyone who pays close attention to sports which reporters will never say anything but nice things about the local teams even when the teams are abysmal. They will usually say nice things about players too. And these are usually the sports reporters and personalities that are older and have been around the teams for a long time. They have developed relationships with owners and executives and a result of these relationships is information. In Minnesota, you knew that a player was on his way out when the geriatric Star Tribune sports columnist, Sid Hartman (who never had anything not nice to say about the local teams and players) would start to criticize him. But these criticisms would never cut so deep as to make the team and it’s ownership look bad. It wasn’t that Sid was secretly on the payroll of the Twins or Vikings. It was because he had spent his entire career cultivating access with the important people that weren’t going anywhere. And without that access, Sid is a 93 year-old, high school dropout.

Political reporting is not that different from sports reporting. Establishment journalists seek access, and their acquisition and maintenance of that access will affect their reporting. This means that they will say what the important people in the government want them to say. Times have changed for both political and sports reporting. For instance, every Major League Baseball team has scores of sabrmetric blogs which analyze baseball (and more importantly, baseball decision-makers) using advance statistical methods. And traditional baseball reporters typically have much disdain for sabrmetric bloggers, and if they could make the label “conspiracy theory,” they would. This is not to say that establishment political reporters who are part of the corporate media do not provide a useful service, but that the service they provide is disseminating the ruling class’s side of the story. But we would be kidding ourselves to consider them investigative journalists. They are not. Real investigative journalism must necessarily be done by those who do not crave access. And they are almost entirely found not on the payroll of corporate media companies.

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Why I am Proud to be an American

By Uri Brito

In the best sense of the term, this has been a very patriotic weekend for me. It began on Thursday evening at the Banquet for Life hosted by Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor is a ministry the saints of Providence have invested in for quite a few years. It is more than just another pro-life ministry, it is a labor that saw 162 women this past year choose life rather than live with the blood of the innocent in their hands for the rest of their lives. They provide counseling, medical help, and the environment to best guide confused young women out of their present chaos.

At their annual fundraising banquet they invited Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum was still living off the energy of last year’s election. The Senator from Pennsylvania shocked the nation by losing to Mitt Romney by only eight votes in Iowa and going on to win several other primaries. Though Santorum was no match for the prosperous GOP establishment candidate, the Senator was still able to leave a lasting impression in the GOP Primary.

Santorum observed in his speech that though he had opined continuously on the state of the economy and on other pertinent matters, the media chose not to pursue the Senator’s opinion on these issues, but rather focus on some of his more “extreme” ideas. Ideas like opposition to abortion, which according to the general American public are far from extreme. Yet, we are at such a stage in the civil discourse that when anyone speaks passionately about any moral issue, he is already termed a radical. To hell with logic! Read more…

How Christians Can Utilize Twitter

The latest issue of The Weekly Standard includes a rant against Twitter by Matt Labash, who does not have a Twitter account. I am on Twitter, and I like it a lot. Of course, it has its vapid and vicious aspects, but all in all, I find that Twitter is the most useful means of staying apprised of a ideologically and geographically wide range of opinion and news, and simultaneously the easiest means of connecting with like-minded folks. It is also striking another damaging blow against the tunnel vision of the mainstream media.

I sympathize with Labash to a certain extent – anything truly novel is likely to be bad, and a reflexive opposition to newfangled ideas is probably going to be vindicated much of the time. Newfangled technology, however, may just improve upon older, useful products, and the best of today’s information technology often represents methods of communicating that are very similar to what scrolls, books, newspapers and magazines have been doing for a long time. Twitter’s limit of 140 characters is not nearly as significant as people like Labash suggest – 95% of what I share on Twitter includes links to longer-form material, such as articles in The Weekly Standard.

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Read the rest with more helpful links at The Anxious Bench

Thomas Kidd is a contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

Further Topical Reading:
“Why Most Christians Should Use Facebook!” ~ Uri Brito, KuypComm Founder

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