Propaganda! For me, just the word evokes images of World War 2 German newspapers spinning on the newsreel footage. Maybe even images of Cold War Russian Pravda headlines seeking to steer the population into a frenzied mindset. Even slanted TV broadcasts seeking to impose a particular agenda. In general, I would suppose that we look unfavorably upon any iterations of perceived manipulations. And, after all, isn’t that what we understand propaganda to be… manipulation.
Though we may be unaware, propaganda is that subversive undercurrent that is intended to drone its way into our subconscious, and begin to erode our objectivity. Germany had a very poignant agenda. Russia had a very intentional bias to promote. And, whaddayaknow! The press in America has adopted that very same methodology to contort the minds of its intended victims.
Our 21st-century propaganda though is a hybrid, a polarization of sorts pulling on each end of the rope – two factions vying for the allegiance of the political dog; each offering tidbits to lure the unsuspecting into an alternate branding of truth.
For the most part, I have lost credibility in the mainstream media. The left and the right are both guilty. Long gone are the days of any sort of measure of feigned objectivity. Prior to the reporter hitting the airwaves, the bias is set–to harvest all relevant “facts” that will support a case of proposed ideology. I realize that even in the “good ole days” of journalistic integrity there was not absolute objectivity, but today it is downright blatant.
I remember the days when the chyron at the bottom of the TV screen would announce that what was being spoken by an opinionated person was “Commentary”, or “Editorial.” Today, no such warning exists to benefit the viewer. Most, if not all that I see and hear is subjective news commercials. The press, again, for the most part has lost its “street cred.”
But wait! There’s more! Movies, magazines, radio, TV, politicians, rock stars, athletes, and social media are all guilty as well. Computer companies, home building suppliers, clothing manufacturers, and restaurant chains. It seems that everyone has an acidic agenda they are trying to foist upon my values.
Both parties have been circling the drain for quite some time. The left has a good head start, but now, it seems, the right is almost in lock-step.
Conjecture. Myth. Fabrication and speculation; it has indeed become a toxic stew – one better to be avoided.
Yes, the press needs to return to a high or higher bar of journalistic integrity. Without blinders. Without gross bias. Reporting news, not creating it (can you say, Hearst?). Can we simply ask that someone reports down the middle? Not Filtered, processed, edited, or spewed out. I am not optimistic. At the best of news reporting there is an agenda. It comes down to, “Who do you trust?” “Who can you trust?”
As Christians, I am reminded by Colossians 2:8 that we have a more noble content upon which to focus:
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
The ideology of the world will fail us; it will seek to pull us off track, oftentimes contrary to the knowledge of God.
The focus of the Church is Christ. The solution is Christ. The Truth is Christ. The Peace is in Christ. Let us seek that.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Let’s consider a break from the mainstream news and social media now and then.
Let’s be careful out there – our minds are some pretty valuable real estate!