With the 7/24 news cycle and lies and misinformation the general rule, where do we find truth? Where do we find a footing to measure what’s going?
Whether we’re glued to Fox News or CNN or MSNBC or another news channel, one thing in common is charges and countercharges alleging truth versus lies. Mueller’s report will come out. It will not come out. Joe Biden is running for president. Joe Biden is not running for president. President Trump is lying when he says there’s an emergency at the Mexican border. President Trump never lies and is warning us of a real crisis.
Jesus of Nazareth said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” He’s inferring that if we don’t live by the truth, by the really real, we’re subjecting ourselves to some kind of bondage. With the divisions among us increasing, isn’t it true that those divisions are caused by different versions of what each of us considers to be the truth. Those versions come from our dependence on a wide variety of spokespersons.
Wolf Blitzer and Geraldo Rivera. Sean Hannity and Jake Tapper. Don Lemon and Ann Coulter. Tucker Carlsen and Tom Brokaw. We could go on. But when we depend on one of these sources for information and don’t test what we’re hearing against basic values, or we don’t listen to conflicting and challenging counter-views, how can we know what is really real?
Look at the problem another way. Much of the so-called news isn’t meant to be truthful. We’re watching a reality show, a never-ending reality show. TV’s main aim isn’t telling the truth. It’s ratings. It’s dwelling on the sensational to bring in more viewers and increase advertising revenue. It’s the good old profit motive that drives almost everything else we’re exposed to.
So, what do we do? For one thing, recognize that news is show business. The 7/24 cycle treats news stories as if all are equally important. They’re not. The 7/24-time maw needs material, any material. It’s like an animal whose hunger is never satisfied.
Not only is there distortion of emphasis, molehills are turned into mountains. Non-stories delivered in stentorian tone convey ‘this is really important.’ Then, two days later, that story has vanished without a trace. To be replaced by new ones.
Truth doesn’t lie on the surface. What is true about our human existence lies at a deeper level. “We reap what we sow.” “Pride goes before a fall.” “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
These are the foundation stones of what we are and who we are. When we watch the news, listen to the news, read the news, we need to measure what we’re learning against the truthful basis of our existence. Then our measure of belief isn’t bowing to a monomaniac, or tunnel vision fixation on a single personality.
Our measure is based on the foundation stones of justice, mercy, love, peace, kindness, all of the verities that we have learned. But when they get smothered by the combative reality show of the everyday cycle, our minds become imprisoned to the point we don’t know what to believe. In muddled minds, confusion reigns. We are not free.