Some practical advice for discerning and communicating truth in these dishonest days.
If you’re a Christian or a conservative, you’ll be aware of how difficult it can be to navigate the minefields that are social media and the legacy press. How can we keep a steady head in these crazy times — and overcome the deceptive grip of Big Tech and Big Media?
Five Tips for Navigating Mainstream Media
When it comes to mainstream media, be warned that bias and dishonesty isn’t always overt — sometimes it can be quite subtle. First, consider five tips for spotting subtle bias.
Beware of Omission. Don’t just pay attention to what the media covers, but also to what it doesn’t cover. For instance, the media will happily cover even a small event or public rally if it supports the latest woke cause, but less so if the cause is patriotic or supports traditional values — whether veterans, pro-life values, or protecting the innocence of children.
One of the worst examples of omission in recent years was the media’s refusal to cover the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. They knew that if they had reported on this story honestly and exposed corruption in the Biden family, Joe Biden may well have lost the 2020 election to Donald Trump.
Beware of Framing. Pay attention to the way words are used, the adjectives, verbs and nouns that tug on your heart strings and that make people in the story appear good or bad.
If you remember the Trump presidency, you will recall the media’s blanket negative coverage of the President. But now that Joe Biden is in the White House, he’s apparently every man’s hero. Consider how the taxpayer-funded ABC frames him:
Beware of Relevance. Are the stories being published even of interest to everyday people, or are they pushing an agenda?
How many people have you heard say they can’t wait for their next meal of bugs? Why are we being bombarded with articles about eating bugs? Who is funding this, and what is their aim?
Beware of what I call ‘the dialectic’. Watch how the media changes its story over time. It follows a very predictable pattern:
1. X is not happening.
2. Okay, X is happening but it’s not so bad.
3. X is happening and it’s good.
4. You must be punished for disagreeing.
A recent example of this is the way the legacy press reported on the recession taking place in the United States:
Beware of ‘Fact-Checking’. Be warned that so-called fact-checking is basically just left-wing journalism 2.0. It uses the same emotional appeals and political spin as other content.
Tell me: what is the difference between something that’s mostly true and something that is partly false? They mean the same thing — but one sounds scary and the other sounds warm and squishy.
Such tricks are subtle but they are the tools being used to manipulate you.
Know Your Friends, Not Just Your Enemies
As well as knowing our enemies, we need to know our friends. Where do you go for trusted news? There are many high-quality Christian and/or conservative Australian independent news worth tuning in to, including:
Be sure to triangulate. If you’re following a particular story, work out what’s really going on by reading mainstream press and independent media. Recognise when the legacy media is telling the truth. Not everything they report is wrong, so we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
How Will You Wage War?
Finally, work out how you want to wage war. I’ll suggest three options.
The first is Low-Key. You might decide for your own sanity and mental health that the best thing you can do is to tune out. That’s a respectable decision.
If you want to play it low-key but still want to be on social media, be ruthless about whom you follow and unfollow, and whom you block. Don’t be afraid to use those features — they will keep you sane.
The second option I’ll call Next Level. Be engaged on social media by politely but firmly calling dishonesty to account. You can keep it lighthearted while still being a ‘troll’. Use the laugh response if you see a fake news post from Big Media. Leave a well-reasoned comment. If you can’t be bothered responding at length, use the clown emoji. Have fun with it.
The third option I’ll call Go for Gold. Start a Facebook page separate to your profile where you can share good, true content. Build yourself a following. Start a blog. Produce good content yourself.
The good thing about Big Tech is that it has blurred the lines between traditional media and independent journalism. Many of the people who are writing news and commentary in Australia today began with one of the suggestions mentioned above.
We do have an opportunity to make a difference in this space. It’s not all bad news. The woke worldview is caving in on itself and secular people are looking for something more. As Ephesians 5:16 counsels us, let’s make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
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