Julie Masson offers a needed warning and some sound counsel for those rightly wary of being duped by fake news :
We are currently dealing with some people in our lives who wholeheartedly distrust any “mainstream media.” But they believe the random dude on YouTube who “knows what’s really going on.” As Christians, I hope that we can be discerning as we consume and engage with any media.
And we should also remember a few things.
1. Your typical journalist/reporter has a boss that they are accountable to just like you are accountable to your boss. They will have bias for sure but that does not mean they are simply saying lies. They can’t or they’d be fired.
2. Your typical news outlet will have several people who review content before it is published or put on the air. Again, this doesn’t mean bias doesn’t exist. But several people are doing their jobs to make sure their info is credible.
3. As Hannah Anderson said so well, our ability to go directly to a source is much easier these days. So any news outlet worth their salt knows that people are able to “fact check” what they say.
Again, this doesn’t mean there isn’t bias. But we can’t believe everyone is lying. Rather we should watch/read multiple sources. Chris Martin said it well when he said:
“I have noticed that truth can often be found where the Right and Left outlets’ stories are the same. For example, if a Right outlet and a Left outlet both report that Event X occurred, that it occurred in City Y and that approximately Z number of people were impacted, all of that is likely true. When Right and Left then explain the implications of Event X, whether Event X was right or wrong, & perhaps who may be to blame for Event X, this is where bias may exist and the stories may differ. This isn’t always the case, but I have often found it to be so.”
If as Christians we only trust the sources we find in the obscure corners of the web on websites with donate buttons and videos that say “please share this” so the person can build a following, then we are actually trusting more in ourselves.
We should be in the word daily and we should be discerning as we engage with any media but if “discernment” means that we only trust the person who says what we want to be true, I think that means we are putting our trust in ourselves and not the God who will help us discern.
Confirmation bias is a heck of a drug that’ll enslave your mouse and your mind. Be soberly skeptical, discerning, and don’t fight fake news with fake news.