In the past five years, I probably have watched a total of three hours of TV news (and thirty minutes of that was at an airport waiting for a flight to depart). We don’t have cable or dish, and I never watch network TV news. I have better things to do that watch the news, and I avoid it because it seems to me the rhetoric is usually over the top and the logic is full of holes. So Carl Trueman’s commentary on this caught my eye. In chapter three of Republocrat he tackles the claim that Fox News is unbiased reporting. Here’s part of his summary of that chapter – critical and constructive.
“…All news channels have their biases and their agendas, all are shaped by those who pull the financial strings, and Fox [owned by Rupert Murdoch] is no exception. So no one should ever spout the ‘Fox is the unbiased news channel’ nonsense, especially Christians, who, with their understanding of the malignant and complex impact of sin on human psychology, should understand the need for a certain skepticism regarding all such media outlets.”
“Fox is not unbiased, never has been unbiased, and frankly never can be unbiased, any more than any other outlet. Yes, it is true that liberal pundit Keith Olbermann is about as nuanced and sophisticated in his political analysis as Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly; so, from the perspective of serious political discussion, I say a plague on all their houses.”
“When it comes to listening to the news, Christians should be eclectic in their approach and not depend merely on those pundits who simply confirm their view of the world while self-evidently using terminology, logic, and standard rules of evidence and argumentation in sloppy, tendentious, and sometimes frankly dishonest ways, such as Mr. Beck and his ‘welfare means totalitarianism’ claims. There is a sense in which we are dependent for our view of the wider world on those media that give us access to that world, so surely it is incumbent on us to make sure that we expose ourselves to a variety of viewpoints on the great issues of the day.”
“…It is incumbent on us not to surround ourselves with things that confirm our prejudices but to seek to listen to a variety of viewpoints. The listening is not an end in itself, as so many postmodern conversationalists would have it; the purpose is to become more informed and to have better-grounded and better-argued opinions. But that can happen only when watching the news becomes more than just having our gut convictions continually confirmed.”
rev shane lems