Fact-free but morally right*

The horrific mass shootings recently in Georgia and Colorado rightly gained a lot of media coverage. While the terrible events could have prompted public conversation about mental health, sex addiction, trafficking, and the problem of displaced young men, the chattering classes on social media decided that the race of the killers was all they needed to know. Any nuanced discussion of why someone would carry out such a brutal crime was not necessary—systemic racism is the explanation, case closed. News outlets seemed to agree and rallies were held to protest race-based crime.

But this narrative is not based on the evidence available, rather it is what Progressive media and its Twitter NPCs want to be true. Martin Gurri, in a piece he wrote for City Journal refers to this advocacy reporting as “post-journalism.” Journalistic objectivity, the idea that news reporting should be unbiased, fair and based in fact is not native to the media it would seem, and has been endangered ever since it was proposed in the 1920s.

While most of us are familiar with media bias, post-journalism is more akin to propaganda. Gurri uses the example of the New York Times which he says, has “long favored an urban agenda, liberal causes, and Democratic candidates” but this is a step beyond. Post-journalism involves honing your agenda, repetitively covering a few partisan issues and ousting anyone who is not on board with the new rules.

It may be that the New York Times is in it for money – their subscriptions jumped considerably during the Trump administration, with frightened and angry readers sheltering behind the Times‘ paywall. But going “woke” is unlikely to pay off long-term. The true motives for the move toward post-journalism are more clearly seen in recent comments from an NBC news anchor, who said that fairness in reporting is “overrated.”

News is a curious creature, not science, or narrative, nor opinion. It comes to us from outside ourselves, a claim about something that requires our response, even if that be dismissal. But what if the facts of the story are not what you would want them to be? What if reality won’t comply with your narrative? Do you change your perspective or double down?

In the Progressive worldview, the world will only be a better place if the tenets of Wokism are embraced by everyone and the haters are shunned. As we’ve pointed out before in Mad Mondays, it has become a strange form of justification, a way to assuage your guilt and assure yourself that you’re a good person. In that way, its adherents need to believe their own story.

But repeating illusions doesn’t make them true, and reality is not built around consensus. Various media outlets may want to be the arbiters of what is right and wrong, but that’s above their pay grade. The NYT may think it is doing the world a favor by keeping “dangerous” ideas out of its pages, but it is papering over the problem. The human condition is not explained by racism, Trump, white nationalists, poverty or Critical Theory. To understand that, you have to put down the paper and read what God says about us rebels.

While the worldlings go on deceiving and being deceived with narratives of humanitarian glory, a report has come to us through witnesses, who faithfully wrote about “that which was from the beginning,” which they heard and saw and touched. So Christians have an affinity for news. It is by means of particularly Good News that we know what our Savior did for us. 

We need not fear news from far away or news from home— God grants us wisdom so that, as Pastor Fisk says, we may pray, for kings and all in authority. We broadcast to those around us, the best news of the forgiveness of sin. Anglican minister Rico Tice once said: “The bad news is worse than you think, but the good news is better than you can imagine.” And so we keep repeating it through the white noise: He is risen. You are paid for. He won’t be long anyway!

*Inspired by AOC’s immortal words...

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