There is an overarching narrative in our country that is projected through media. The narrative is guided by academic institutions, television shows, newspapers and of course the World Wide Web. Narrative is a term that we'll use to describe the overarching framework of ideas, the general mood and worldview of the national public in the United States. And this is certainly true for other nations as well. In some nations this narrative is state run--it's controlled by the government powers. That would be true in nations like China or North Korea. But in most free nations in Europe and the United States this narrative is largely controlled and guided by media.
In the United States there is an interesting paradigm shift that took place at some point in the past 50-60 years. The media in our country is projecting and putting forth a national narrative, a national worldview that tends to not accurately reflect what most average Americans believe.
While most Americans would hold more traditional views, and tend toward more Judaeo-Christian views on reality, the national media tends to project the assumption that most Americans hold to more progressive views of the world, like evolution, naturalism, multiculturalism, identity politics, abortion and increased government control over life.
Why? Well, it's important to remember that media outlets like NBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News are private businesses. Thus they are subject to the political leanings of those who own those institutions. Thankfully increasingly we've seen that Americans are turning to radio, social media and the internet to find news and comprehend the national mood on their own. Thus we've seen a counter-narrative emerging. One is projected by the television news media, and the big newspapers, and a new counter-narrative is projected by more conservative and traditionalist outlets like independent news sites like National Review, Weekly Standard, the Daily Wire, the Daily Caller, The Federalist, Breitbart and others. Contributing to this counter-narrative are talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and others. So increasingly we see two narratives battling for dominance and authority as the dominant worldview of the country.
This isn't a bad thing, I don't believe. For the longest time we've been prisoner to one narrative, the progressive narrative. Thankfully there is at least somewhat of a counter-narrative that espouses Christian and traditional views on life, history, and everything beginning to emerge.
It's affected my life, in a profound ways. I was raised up in public schools that taught profoundly non-Christian views on life. One could call it indoctrination, and this was before common core and the changes made in that curriculum that is even more blatant in pushing a leftist materialistic worldview. I was taught post-modernism in college. These are profoundly anti-Christian views, taught on public dollars.
This is a profoundly important for Christians today to understand. The United States is a nation that has been exceedingly Christian in its worldview since its founding in 1776, until the 1960s. And for the last 50-60 years, increasingly the media and academic institutions have labored to create a social climate that is hostile to Christianity. And especially in young people, they've succeeded.
According to a broad study conducted by former secretary of education William Bennett between 1960 and 1997, our society saw the following increases, according to rian E. Fisher, original source of statistics from the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators by William J. Bennett (New York Broadway Books, 1999).
865 percent increase in the number of couples living together out of wedlock
511 percent increase in the percentage of out of wedlock births
280 percent in the rate of violent crime
248 percent increase in the percentage of single-parent families
215 percent increase in juvenile violent crime rate
160 percent increase in total crime rate
33 percent decrease in the marriage rate
106 percent in the number of children on welfare
It's reasonable to assume that these numbers have continued to increase, not decrease between 1997 and 2017.
So how can we as Christians understand how the media and academic elites have twisted our worldview and begin to take action in fighting back against lies, disinformation, and smear efforts? Let's look at some of the tactics that are put forward against us.
Note: These eight tactics are taken from "Media Revolution" by Brian E. Fisher, but the thoughts on these tactics and their application are my own.
1. "The Name Game"
This tactic is an interesting one, it's the use of terms and words that change the meaning of issues to better suit the narrative of the media. Thus someone who supports the abortion of unborn babies shouldn't be called "pro-abortion" they are instead referred to as "pro-choice" or "pro-woman." The slaughter of unborn children in the womb is referred to by the media as "women's health." Christian views of marriage and family are referred to as "hate speech." Any conservative outlet or individual is rebranded as a "racist" or "sexist" person. Anyone who espouses a view that doesn't jive with the media narrative is called "divisive." Illegal immigrants are referred to as "undocumented foreign workers." Christian pastors and leaders are commonly referred to in combination with words like "judgmental" "fundamentalist" and other slurs of language that cause negative feelings in the general public. An interesting one is "tolerance" that has been redefined to mean that if you even disagree with homosexuality or transgenderism or other redefinitions of human nature, then you are being "intolerant" or "hateful." Global cooling went out of fad in the 1970s, then it became global warming, and when that term was no longer working, it became "climate change." Terms are changed, instead of socialism; they call it "progressive." You get the idea. And you can see how this is a very manipulative way of redefining evils to seem good and goods to seem evil.
Watch for this in the media, and don't be fooled by it.
2. "The Blitz"
The blitz refers to the way the media will repeat and repeat untruths, and half-truths until we've heard them so many times that we begin to believe them. This is often done with commercial advertising. We find ourselves with a jingle from an advertisement in our head because we've heard it so many times.
Climate change is given this drumbeat in the media, constantly it's related to everything from hurricanes to hot flashes. It's repeated so often that people begin to believe it's really true. The same is true for evolutionary biology. It's repeated so often that "evolution is fact" that people begin to believe it, and they're afraid to espouse a contrary view.
In the media we see a narrative emerge by this blitz tactic. Narrative phrases are repeated so often that they become part of the national view of how things are in the country. It's much like the German blitz tactic in World War II. The truth is like a wall of fortifications. The German tanks would blaze past them and take control before the stationary defenses knew what hit them. The same is true with a false narrative, like "hands up don't shoot" or "Benghazi was caused by an internet video." The lie is repeated so constantly in the days after the initial breaking story that the truth is left in the shadows and the lie becomes the predominant view.
Common blitzes include anti-Christmas narrative pushing during that season, media silence on the Planned Parenthood videos (repeating the lie that the videos were "highly edited"), the recent hurricanes due to climate change, the smear against Jeff Sessions calling him racist (even though he'd won an award from the ACLU for his efforts against racists in the south), and any opposition to gay marriage in the cultural being repeatedly called "bigotry and hatred."
Double check what is being said in the media against more centrist and conservative news outlets view the web. Remember that Google is set up to almost always display liberal and leftist news sites before conservative ones. You'll have to know which sites to go to, because Google, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are all going to show you progressive news sites first. All four work with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a wildly anti-Christian activist group. I know, I'm blowing your mind. But it's important to know this stuff. Additionally, if you were going to check sites like Snopes, Politifact or other "fact checkers" you should be aware that "fact checkers" at Snopes and Politifact tend to be far left leaning. Snopes is great for internet gossip, but when dealing with politics and religion, they are going to swing far left. I'm sorry, it's just the truth.
3. "Say What?"
This tactic takes a half-truth, twists it, and promotes it as an obvious accepted fact. The "say what" example given by Brian E. Fisher in "Media Revolution" is the mythical "wall of separation between church and state." This is a lie, something used to attack Christians who dare to speak up about political or social issues of our day. This tactic is similar to the blitz in that it involves lies or half truths being pushed and repeated.
4. "A Major Rewrite"
This is the tactic known as revisionist history. It sounds just like it is. History is rewritten in media, academia and public education to downplay certain elements and emphasize other elements. A good book recommended by Fisher is The Rewriting of America's History by Catherine Millard. D. James Kennedy ministries talks about this a fair amount. Additionally Del Tackett in the Truth Project DVD series addresses a few of the revisions of history done in public school textbooks. He specifically looks at how the Mayflower compact was rewritten to remove references to God from it. Additionally we see in books like Icons of Evolution and Zombie Science by Jonathan Wells that fake science is pushed in public school textbooks, things that have been debunked and disproven continue to appear in public school textbooks and science textbooks pushing a false narrative on our children.
5. "That's Un-American!"
A view rejected by the mainstream media is criticized as "Un-American." Do you oppose abortion? That's un-American, your being anti-woman. Do you appose gay marriage? Then your un-American because America is all about equality. Do you appose men in the women's bathroom? Well then your being un-American because we reject "bigotry" in America. Lies are being used to smear viewpoints as Un-American.
6. "Odd Man Out"
Oh they love this one in the media. The deception technique is used to make biblical Christians and more traditional conservatives feel like they are isolated and alone in their beliefs. Every channel pushes it, every television news outlet repeats the same secular naturalist worldview and pretty soon Christians feel afraid and pressured, like we are alone in our beliefs. This causes us to feel afraid to speak up because we feel like we're all alone. It causes people to shut up and even surrender and switch their view to be in line with the false narrative.
7. "Silence of the Lambs"
The mainstream media pushes out a web of false information and false emotional viewpoints of Christians so that we Christians appear to be judgmental, intolerant, and hateful. Thus Christians are kept silent and afraid, because we don't want to be thought of in such ways.
Brian E. Fisher cites a study by the Parents Television Council conducted in 2005 and 2006 studying 2,271.5 hours of prime time television. The results were:
-Religious leaders and beliefs were portrayed as mostly negative.
-Fox was the most anti-religious network, with 49.3 percent of portrayals being negative.
-NBC was second with 39.3 percent negative coverage
-Nearly half of religious institutions and denominations were given 47.6 percent negative coverage, and in contrast only 18 percent of religious institutions received positive coverage.
8. "Didn't Moses Build the Ark?"
Bible illiteracy is a sad state of affairs in the church, and unfortunately we're so bombarded by information in our world that we don't really know what the Bible says. We don't know what the Bible really teaches. But this isn't solely the fault of the media pushing non-Christian views; it's the fact that we've allowed the media to distract us from the word of God. Thankfully more and more Christians are coming to know the word and its power. We've got great groups like the Bible Project putting together videos of the books of the Bible, and we have sites like GodTube and Youtube where we can view sermons. Additionally we can go on sites likeBiblegateway.com and listen to audio Bibles or read free commentaries, so it's all at our finger tips today and I do think we're seeing improvements in this area.
Is the Church impacting culture? Or is the culture impacting the Church? We have to know our Bible and believe our Bible. Let's look less to the television and to secular news, and let's look more to the word of God and our Christian worldview.
Here is a video from 2005 of Dr. Stephen Meyer a Christian intelligent design supporter and how he was treated by the media and Darwinian academic elites. See if you can pick out which tactics are used against him.
Jesus Christ is made to appear evil by the mainstream media, and we need to change that. We need to combat the false narrative in the media with the true narrative of America, which is this: America is nation of faith in Jesus Christ. America is a nation that values liberty and truth. America is a nation that values morality, decency and reasonable ethics. America is not a nation that should be divided up by race, class, wealth or gender. We're one people. America is a largely liberty-driven society, not a progressive or revolutionary society.
"In God We Trust" is our national motto, and it's a tragedy that young people are fed lies by academia and the media regarding Christianity, Jesus Christ and who we are. We can and will counter these lies with the timeless absolute truth of Scripture. We will reclaim our nation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ will flow freely, without these overwhelming lies that hinder it. Believe, pray and take action. Jesus will grant us the victory. Arm yourself with the truth, and get to work.