No. 722


When it comes to the media, especially the national media, here is a question I would like to pose for you to ponder with me for a long time to come. When it comes to the influence the media has on our lives, is it better to have state-controlled media or a media-controlled media? What I am going to say today is in response to what a reader wrote to me a while back. This was shortly after one of our major television networks had a town-hall style meeting in the White House, the home of the United States president that belongs to all the people of the United States of America.
You may say, what’s wrong with that? First, let’s examine some basic facts and then you will be able to answer your own question. The purpose of the news media is to report the news. It’s far better if the news of the day is reported in an objective and unbiased manner. This is really the essence of what a democracy is all about. This is because in a democratic country the news media does not answer to the government. In dictatorships like Cuba and North Korea the media are controlled by the state and are used as mere tools to further the objectives of the government. They are not free to report as they wish and criticism of the government is prohibited.
These facts lead to yet another question. What if all the news we were getting was slanted to a particular viewpoint? The answer lies in a Proverb that I ran across the other day in my reading. It’s found in Proverbs 18:17, “The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.” When it comes to a highly biased media, and all we hear is mostly one side of an issue, how are we going to know the truth? Unfortunately, many people live their lives like the man who said, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have already made up my mind.”
If we build our lives, our careers and our futures on anything less than the truth, we are building on sand, and it will not stand. While I am not always right, I do search for the truth and do my best to seek it in all of my affairs. Here in my local community some of my friends get put out with me because I won’t attend a political rally for one party or the other. Granted, I don’t have that much influence, but I want to always be in a position to be objective. If I see something that I don’t believe is right or based on truth, I want to be able to say so, because again, that’s what an objective media person is supposed to be about in a democracy.
In recent years, the national media has had a dramatic shift away from objective and unbiased reporting to one of almost complete bias when it comes to one political party or the other. I could call names here but you probably already know who I am talking about. When reporting of this kind happens, we are not much better, if at all, than the state-controlled media of dictatorships around the world. One of the saddest things for me is the all-out assault the national media has against Christianity, the very bedrock and foundation of our nation. I read and hear snide remarks all the time about the “far right” Christians. Well, I am a Christian and I am not far-right. I am just a Christian, period.
Now, back to my original question, “Is it better to have a state-controlled media or a media-controlled media?” Only you can answer that question. For me, seeking “truth” is far more important than either one.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)