Fox News Christians, please turn the channel

Poster supporting Barack Obama
COUNTERPOINT. A poster raised in a march by the Occupy Wall Street crowd in October, 2011 offers the flipside of what some Fox News pundits were saying. Christians need to hear both sides of a two-sided story. Photo by David Shankbone/ flickr.

I HAVE A FAVOR TO ASK of my fellow Christians.

Could we please not watch Fox News so much?

That channel doesn’t produce informed Christians. It produces misinformed, angry, intolerant Christians.

We’ve already nailed that reputation.

We don’t need Fox News shooting us up with steroids to enhance it.

I brand myself as a news journalist who treats the Bible as his beat.

News journalism was my undergraduate degree. I wrote for newspapers before I went to seminary. I know objective news reporting when I see it. And I know hateful propaganda when I see it.

Fox News is to journalism what Russian state-run TV is to broadcasting. It has a strict agenda to sell, and it doesn’t let truth get in its way.

Honest journalism hunts truth the way my Grandpap’s hound dogs chased rabbits.

Fox News will chase a rabbit and tell us it’s the Antichrist…without a birth certificate.

  • It’ll scare us.
  • It’ll anger us.
  • It’ll brainwash us.

It brainwashes by telling us something that’s merely speculative, and telling it to us over and over again. Every day. Every week. Every month.

By the way, the president is not a Muslim. There are people in my church who still insist he is.

Objective reporting gives us both sides of double-sided stories.

That’s what I try to do in my books about the Bible. When I hit a controversial topic, I try to give you different sides of the story with such objectivity that you can’t tell what my position is. Sometimes that’s not hard because I don’t have a position; I can get as perplexed as the next guy.

When you’re looking for reliable information, look for that kind of objectivity in the news reporting about what’s going on in our world.

Look for both sides of a story reported in such a way that you can’t tell what position the reporter or the TV station favors.

You’ll know it’s objective reporting when you’re left to draw your own conclusions—when the reporter lets you think for yourself instead of telling you what he thinks, or what she thinks.

It’s important where we get our information.

That’s why I write books about the Bible. It’s a source of helpful insight.

Fox News, all too often, is not.

Paul pointed us in the direction we need to take our heads:

“You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Philippians 4:8, The Message).

Comments

  1. Debbie Coffman says

    And, MSNBC is the same as Fox News only with a liberal slant. I stopped watching Fox for about a year. A month ago I started watching it again because of how ridiculous the other stations were being about the election. At first, I was going back & forth. What I realized, was that Fox News was the only one showing both sides of the issue.

    So, my observation is that you are not going to get what you want from TV news. But, I would rather hear both sides of an issue over a panel of liberal people discussing how horrible republicans are.

    And, I have to say, that now that I know your political views, it makes me see your writings in a whole new light. :-) Not that that is a bad thing.

    • says

      Thanks, Debbie.

      I believe you’re right about MSNBC. They like Democrats. Not always very objective.

      I’ve watched the news on all the major channels. From the perspective of a journalist educated in news reporting, I’d say that if the FBI asked me to put together a Most Wanted List of news channels distorting the facts, Fox News is by far #1. I’d grant you, though, that MSNBC would own the #2 spot.

      If you want solid, reliable information, you probably shouldn’t go to either of those channels on a regular basis.

      We need to read more, I think.

  2. B Watkins says

    To what other news source are you suggesting folks turn? In J-school, I learned that all journalists are biased–because they are human. We can have the exact same experience, and see it in different ways. It is tempting to shun ALL news media. I am reminded of a former editor who frequently said that adults only read (and watch) to confirm their own biases. You have to give credit to the reader/viewer to filter content and synthesize information. If they don’t, they won’t, no matter what channel they watch.

    • says

      Hi, B.
      Of the big boy news channels I’ve seen, I’d say CNN is the least of the offensive. But they’re all about passing off the op-ed as objective news, too.

      Broadcasting journalism in general, I think, is too much about entertainment, ratings, and profit. It’s hard to report news when those are your goals.

      We see a gallery of the same talking heads offering their opinion about every topic under the sun. I think they need more boots on the ground, covering the news around the planet. I’d watch that channel.

  3. Erin says

    Fox News, sadly, incites fear through moral panic. They reinforce the fictional construction of a white, upper-class, Christian America, i.e., Leave it To Beaver, (an America that never truly existed, in the 20th OR 21st century), and they gain attention and support by claiming that this fictional America is under attack. Period. MSNBC, yes, is quite bad…but not for distorting the facts or fabricating the truth, rather, they are pretty guilty for a lot of juvenile name-calling and jokes at the expense of Republicans. Fox News has been caught lying repeatedly solely to gain attention. The sad thing, really, is that I don’t believe the Glen Becks, Shawn Hannity’s and Megan Kelly’s of the world necessarily believe the filth they are spewing. Rather, they are making a killing off of it, and I think THAT is their motive. So I suppose the joke truly is on their audience, namely older, white upper class elderly folk who are being terrified into voting for anyone who will sell them a pack of lies about how America used to be Mayberry before brown-skinned people, Muslims, and feminists began a trail of corruption. Steve – I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you are a thinking, conscious aware Christian. So refreshing…

  4. vee says

    I have not even turned on TV today.Very nice to have quiet and reflect. When I do turn it on I will listen to Christian music.

  5. Wayne Sacchi says

    Stephen…thank you for this…my soul is at peace now since I gave up all the pundits and especially Fox (Faux) News many years ago!

    We had 17 people at the Community Book and Bible study that now meets at MCC Knoxville, the third Sunday of the month. We are in 2 Samuel using “The Complete Visual Bible” as our textbook. Pastor Bob was on a roll yesterday…you should have more people signing up for your Blog since I told them they could get 50% off your book we are using. I was so overwhelmed by the turnout last night — we never got that many people before when we have it in my home. We had a tremendous participation! God is so good and PEOPLE DO WANT TO STUDY THE BIBLE. Thank you for making your books interesting.

  6. kenneth Heady says

    Fox news viewers where the most misinformed viewers according to a survey done off all the cable network viewers

  7. Greg Schneider says

    You are a provocateur, Stephen Miller. If you’re theologically conservative, should you attend a liberal church to get a balanced perspective?

  8. Greg Schneider says

    re “You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse”

    As a former news photographer, I quickly realized that no one was interested in seeing the 9,999 airplanes that land safely. For better or worse, the one that crashes is the one that makes the news.

    • says

      Yep, you’re right about the bad news thing. When I was a in J school, there was a paper that tried to print just the good news. Went out of business.

      But what I’m talking about is presenting the news honestly and as objectively as possible. Fox bills itself as “Fair & Balanced.” They might as well kick a priest in the face and call themselves pacifists. They are the opposite of fair and balanced.

      About your other question, regarding a conservative going to a liberal church to get a balanced perspective, I’d say, heck, they’d just get mad. Or smarter. Who knows?

      But I’m talking strictly about the news. Fox News is the nasty provocateur. I’m calling them on it.

  9. Jason says

    Fox News has excellent journalists. The only objectionable part is their prime-time line up, which is Conservative (Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren). But it’s not really a problem when you compare it to the other ‘major’ news networks — CNN and MSNBC, which are much worse in the other-direction than FNC (if those are even comparable, given their dismal ratings).

    If you actually watch Fox News’ day-time news coverage, it’s very fair and balanced and definitely setting the industry-standard

    Also, Christian charity and government welfare are not the same thing.

    • says

      Hi, Jason. When I flipped channels during the presidential debates, and I came to Fox, it sounded like I was listening to Republican politicians, not journalists. I remember thinking, “These guys have sold their souls.”

      I don’t mean that in a spiritual sense, but in a professionals sense. What they were doing is not how I was taught to do journalism. It’s how I was taught to spin public relations for a corporation.

  10. LE Wilson says

    Steve, I stumbled up on your site and blog quite by accident. After reading this post and the post about caring for the sick, I’m around for the long haul. Your outlook on topics is interesting and refreshing.

    • says

      Hey, thanks. Glad to have you stumbling on board.

      Great timing. All blog subscribers are automatically entered into a drawing on Friday for a Kindle Fire HD and 20 free books. Odds of winning the Kindle are, currently, about 1 in 49. Odds of getting a book: 1 in 3.

      Welcome aboard.

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