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Viewpoint

In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?

“Viewpoint” allows the expression on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say.

Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders. 

The Fourth Estate

View Point

Supreme influence of the media

By Bill Noles Jr.

But test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil – 1Thessalonians 5:21-22

 The power of the press has not been more evident than in the 2016 presidential election. Most people believe the press has too much influence, especially the mainstream media. Others believe the media is just looking to increase circulation and viewers, which translates into more revenue for them.

 "In the chase for higher ratings and circulation the media are falling prey to populism and so failing in their primary duty – to keep the public properly informed," argues Jürgen Krönig, Vice President of the Foreign Press Association.

"To avoid any misunderstanding: a natural tension between politics and the media has always existed and that is right and necessary," said Krönig. "Without a free press, there is no public sphere, no informed citizen and thus no democracy."

Historically and again today, media has become known as the "Fourth Estate" – a societal or political force or institution whose influence is not consistently or officially recognized. In America, the media is fast becoming identified as the "fourth branch of government."

"When a political media does its job, when journalists hold government ethically accountable, the result is an honest, well-adjusted government," according to The Daily Wire. "At the federal level, this is just not happening."

"Tragically, our national media now sees itself as part of the government, and as a consequence, the media’s mission to hold institutions accountable has been dropped entirely in favor of relentless agenda-pushing," the article stated.

"The fourth estate, however, is more powerful than ever. It is shaped by two dominating principles – sensationalism and simplification, which the American sociologist Robert McChesney, in his book Rich Media, Poor Democracy, defines as the consequence of ‘hyper-commercialization’," Krönig pointed out. "It has led to ever fiercer ratings and circulation wars, which inevitably leads to what is called ‘dumbing down.’ To succeed, the media industry tries to appeal to the lower instincts of people."

But can the media go too far? President-elect Donald Trump thinks so.

"Let’s be clear on one thing, the corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism," Trump said during a pre-election rally. "They are political special interest no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity with a total political agenda and the agenda is not for you, it’s for themselves."

 

Washington Post reporter Philip Bump said on CNN Tonight that Trump’s anti-media campaign "makes members of the press nervous. I realize it doesn’t make members of the public as nervous, because the public doesn’t really like the press. But it makes us nervous because we see our job as reporting the truth."

But what is the truth? The day after the election, several publications made their indignation known. The Huffington Post expressed how they were feeling on their website with a headline, "Nightmare President Trump" and The New Yorker labeled the situation, "An American Tragedy."

Journalists disagree with Trump and have started a campaign to fight any changes that the new Trump Administration might enact.

"Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values," the Committee to Protect Journalists declared in an extraordinary statement several weeks before the election.

The nonprofit organization advocates for the rights of journalists around the world. CPJ’s board members include Associated Press executive editor Kathleen Carroll, New Yorker editor David Remnick, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, Univision News boss Isaac Lee, and many other mainstream journalists.

"Self-criticism is not popular among the media," admitted Krönig. "Indeed, sometimes it seems that’s the media’s only taboo."

"Candidates who run for office are well aware of the impact the media has on their campaign. In fact, without the media, most people would know little, if anything, about the people who run for office, much less those who are elected," according to USA Today. "So, their role is critical, because whether they mean to or not, the media ultimately shape public opinion. The media also play a part in defining the image of a candidate, a critical factor during an election."

"The media has lost the trust of the public, and now it reaps the consequences with a lack of influence, scorn from the public and a constant string of failures," the Daily Sabah posted. "We no longer have the luxury of being the only source of news to the public and continue with that confidence. We must get our credibility back or in the next election or referendum, we won’t even be relevant to the outcome, much less influence it."

Today, more than ever, Christians need to fact-check every form of media.

This week pray:

Bill Noles Jr. is a former Christian newspaper publisher, an entrepreneur, author and writer. He and his wife Diann live in Albany, OR.




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