The classic Dickens’ novel “A Tale of Two Cities” begins with the memorable line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
I can’t think of a more apropriate summary statement of the condition of modern journalism than that.
On the positive side, we now have more information, more instantly available than ever before.
On the negative side, we now have more bias and laziness woven into that information than ever before.
Consider this breaking story, breathlessly reported by what has come to be called our “Drive-By Media” today.
Tzipi Livni on course to win a narrow victory in
Tzipi Livni, the leader of Israel’s centrist Kadima party, is on course to
achieve a narrow victory in the landmark general election, according
This headline was soon replaced by another, less certain description of events.
Partial results: Israel election too close to call
This was subsequently amended to read:
Netanyahu declares victory in Israeli election
Why the confusion?
Israel operates under a very different political system than we do here in the States.
Instead of a two part system where the major candidates have it out in a winner take all presidential election, Israeli politics are all about coalition building.
The political party that gets the most votes will put forward a candidate for the position of Prime Minister. That person must be able to build a group of like minded representatives that will add up to over sixty seats in the Israeli parliament.
In other words, your party might win more seats than your closest rival. But unless you can get enough backing to put together a ruling coalition, you are out of luck.
This is precisely what happened in Israel today.
The left leaning Kadima party of Tzipi Livini is neck and neck with the conservative Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu.
If Livni’s Kadima party wins by one or two seats it won’t matter.
Because along with Likud’s representatives another even more conservative party called Yisrael Beitenu and its leader Avigdor Leiberman will likely throw its growing influence behind a center-right government lead by Netanyahu.
Now I realize that if you are not particularly enamored of Israeli politics, your head may be spinning right now.
Even if you are enamored of Israeli politics, you may find yourself in the same condition.
So why wade through all this?
To illustrate an important spiritual danger in our day.
I admit I love watching the news.
And there are all kinds of stories I encounter that I know little to nothing about.
But every now and then I will see a story or read a feature on something where I do have a little background.
Like the media’s take on Christianity.
And I have to say, more often than not, I am taken aback by how much the news outlets, professional pundits and so called expert guests get absolutely dead wrong.
Here’s a news flash – Just because you heard it on television, or saw it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true.
Here’s another news flash – Just because you heard it on Christian television, or from a man standing behind a pulpit on Sunday morning doesn’t make it true either.
The only way to make sure we are getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is to:
Take any spiritual message with a grain of salt.
If something doesn’t quite settle with you, it may be that the Lord is tapping you on the shoulder and telling you to turn on your “Discern-o-meter”.
Compare any spiritually oriented message or take on spiritual issues with the Word of God.
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11)
Being an alert and aware consumer of content is a life saving skill in our media saturated culture.
And the life you save by seeing if “these things were so” just may be your own!
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