Tag Archive | CBS

Facts, Fake News, and Finding Truth

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Throughout the last campaign season and continuing on through the first three months of this year, we have all heard the phrase that has become a staple of public discourse — the allegation and labeling of certain news reports as “fake news”.

We’ve come a long way from the days of Walter Cronkite — the most trusted man in America. Nowadays, “news” reports are peppered with opinion, innuendo, and bias from the very people who are supposed to be objectively reporting what is going on. From the very beginning of many news reports — especially those pertaining to President Trump and his administration — the commentary is framed in such a way as to support a conclusion that may or may not be factual.

Recently, President Trump came to Nashville for a rally. Since Nashville is a couple of hours from where we are in Chattanooga, one of my staff members volunteered to go to the rally and report back what he observed with his own eyes. Here is what he had to say…

After meeting up with a couple of friends outside of the city, we drove to the Nashville Municipal Auditorium for the rally with President Trump. We parked about 4 blocks away (after navigating through streets that were blocked off for security reasons), and walked to the auditorium. At the point at which we reached the venue, it was a little after 2p.m., with the start time of the rally scheduled for 6:30p.m. Upon walking past the front of the venue, we noticed lots of police, Secret Service agents, barricades, and people. The line had long-since formed, and stretched out of sight. There was a small area cordoned off near the entrance where a handful of protesters had gathered. The few signs on display addressed an array of topics and grievances, some of which were fairly odd. If you counted everyone in that area (sign or no sign) as a protester, there might have been about 20.

Street preachers

Street evangelists.

We proceeded past the entrance on the long walk to the end of the line. The crowd was calm, well-behaved, and respectful. Lots of smiling faces of people eager to see the President as people conversed, laughed, and occasionally broke into spontaneous cheers of “USA!… USA!…” and “Trump!…Trump!…”. There were a handful of street preachers with loudspeakers, preaching a message of salvation to a crowd who, for the most part, remained respectful of their right to be there. It was obvious that these people were not there to protest, but were simply there to use the opportunity to share the message of the Gospel with a fairly captive audience. When one of the bystanders engaged one of these men in a conversation, the street-preacher exclaimed that he had been to “other” events, and the current crowd was much more well-behaved and respectful.

#5

At this point in the line, we were only 8/10 of a mile from the entrance.

It was around 2:30p.m. when we finally made it to the end of the line. According to Google Maps, we were about 8/10 of a mile from the entrance. We got in line and began the long wait. Within 10 minutes of standing there, the line grew to extend roughly 150 yds. beyond the point where we were standing. Within 20 minutes, the line was once again out of sight. As we stood in the sea of red “Make America Great Again” hats, I was struck by a few things. In spite of the cold (and it got much colder), people weren’t complaining. The crowd itself was made up of young and old, men and women. There were a lot of high-school and college aged young people, as well as a lot of children. There were people dressed comfortably (sweatshirts and jeans), and others who were attired much nicer. There were poor people there. There were affluent people there. When the street vendors came by with hats, shirts, and buttons, people engaged them in conversation and broke out their wallets to purchase their wares. When the (very) occasional protester happened by with their signs (some of which were quite misguided and/or offensive), the crowd remained respectful and for the most part, did not engage them, even in the face of their contrary (and even bizarre) viewpoints. Those who chose to engage did so without name calling, or hate-filled aggression, but simply spoke to them about their grievance of choice, and shared why they believed them to be in error.

 

At 3:30p.m., the doors opened and the line began to inch forward. At one point, there was a commotion of police lights, and a huge cheer went up as the Presidential motorcade passed by. It was interesting to see strangers become friends, and listen to the conversations about the hope people felt in America once again.

As the line continued to move forward, the sun continued to set, and the temperature continued to drop, the crowd remained vigilant in their determination to see the President. At one point, after standing in line for more than two hours, one of the people standing next to me got a news report from one of the local news agencies on their phone. It was being reported that “hundreds of protesters had gathered to protest Trump”. We couldn’t help but laugh. From start to finish, we witnessed maybe 50 people protesting. Some of the signage of people we initially thought might be protesters turned out to be people who, with no chance of getting in, decided to utilize their time carrying signs in support of the President, and essentially being cheerleaders as they walked up and down the crowd, cheering on those in attendance.

We were roughly 2/10 of a mile from the entrance when President Trump took the stage. Those of us outside broke out cell phones, and watched the LIVE feed of what was happening inside. As the line sped up slightly, we remained hopeful that we would still make it in before the President finished.

It wasn’t to be.

We made it to within 40 feet of the doorway when the President began to close his remarks, and knew at that point that our 4-hour vigil had been in vain.

But actually… it hadn’t for me. I had come for the experience of witnessing first-hand what a Trump rally was about, and while I never made it to the doorway, I think I got just as good a sense of that during my time standing in line. What I witnessed was a lot of people who love our country and wanted to support a President who shares that love. The full house of nearly 10,000 people inside was what the country saw in news clips and social media stories. What they didn’t see was the literally thousands of people who stood faithfully outside, and never made it in… people who still felt pride in being there to support a President who has taken a lot of heat for standing up for them.

Well, my fingers and toes have finally thawed out, and I am thankful for the (albeit chilly) experience of spending a few hours with other Americans who have renewed my faith in the goodness and kindness of her people.

Proverbs 10:9 says…

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes
crooked paths will be found out.

Trust but verify ReaganIn this day and time, finding out truth is not as complicated as it would seem. I believe we have become so used to instant gratification that we determine truth the same way. “If the media says it, it must be true”, may have had some relevance in times past, but today we live in an age where people speak before the truth is known, and report before all of the facts are in. I have seen it become such a vicious cycle: Someone reports a story which is proven to be false, then tries to manufacture data or spin the story in such a way as to try to maintain some degree of credibility. It seems that people have lost the ability to say “I was wrong”, when in fact those three words are a crucial starting point to regaining lost credibility. Oftentimes, an apology can get a lot better response than a defense.

Truth is not subjective. Truth is not open to interpretation. There is not such thing as “your truth” and “my truth”. Truth stands on its own power and authority. The Bible puts a great deal of importance on truth as we read…

The LORD detests lying lips,
but He delights in people who are trustworthy. ~ Proverbs 12:22

I think if we all slowed down and took more of an interest in the truth, we would find that honesty is still the best policy, and that being truthful in the first place is less exhausting that than the ensuing damage control involved when we sacrifice our integrity.

We might also find that the place of truth is the starting point of finding favor with God.

The Truth, Political Correctness, & The Most Trusted Man In America

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“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant
facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive
values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge
the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is
afraid of its people.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Statistics reveal Americans are fed up with the national news media. The major networks are seeing a steady decline in viewership, print media is losing subscribers by the thousands and the disdain of mainstream media has hit an all time high. Many Americans feel that what they are hearing from the mainstream media is nothing more than regurgitated political correctness in the form of hardhitting “news.”

“A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 65 percent of Americans believe that the national news media have a negative effect on our country. According to a recent Gallup poll, six in ten Americans now have little or no confidence in the national media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”

A grammar school student by the name of Talha Wani wrote an opinion piece for the Express Tribune on the subject, “Can the Media be Trusted?”

He stated, “The media’s job is to represent the views and opinions of the masses, and inform and educate people regarding different points of views and opinions. The concept behind the media’s role is a simple one: To update society’s knowledge on the status of affairs through recent developments and events. Both the print and electronic media have a role to play in this regard. The most rudimentary ethics to follow in this endeavor are honesty and accurate reporting. However, sadly, honesty is the last thing to expect from this now complicated institution.

While the media has the ability to uphold the truth, it has, unfortunately, also been used as a tool of distortion and propaganda, and is often plagued with bias. It often acts as an avenue for profiteering rather than for accurate reporting or creating awareness among the public.”

I find it fascinating that a grammar school student sees the seriousness of the situation while those who sit in the comfortable confines of their ivory towers continue dictating to the American public what they should or should not believe. These media moguls don’t
have a clue that a revolt is taking place in this country. We are fed up and we are not going to take it anymore!

It wasn’t always that way.

Walter CronkiteDuring the early days of broadcast television, it was not uncommon to turn on the evening news at seven o’clock and watch one of the major networks tell the American people the ‘happenings’ of the day. For decades, many families ate their evening meal watching Walter Cronkite on CBS or the Huntley/Brinkley Report on NBC.

The favorite around our house was Walter Cronkite of CBS News. Because of his straightforward reporting, without mixing his own personal political views, he earned the nickname, “The most trusted man in America.” From 1962 to 1991, he reported on some of the most life-changing events in America. With a steadfast voice, he told us the “truth” about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the death of Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War. Whenever the news broke, he was the one America tuned in to watch.

For decades, we depended on men like Cronkite to give it to us straight and pull no punches. We did not have the luxury of the internet, or the plethora of cable news outlets to get alternative opinions on the events of the day.

In those days, when someone like Walter Cronkite looked into the camera and said, “And that’s the way it is,” you felt like he was telling you the unvarnished truth.

After the death of Walter Cronkite in 2009, Cliff Kincaid, Director of the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism, wrote an article in Accuracy in Media. He stated, “It is
wrong to speak ill of the dead. On the other hand, it is an insult to the intelligence of the American people to pretend that Walter Cronkite was the “voice of God” and “universally credible,” as Mara Liasson put it on Fox News Sunday. The terrible truth is that Walter
Cronkite symbolized liberal media bias and used that bias with disastrous consequences for our nation and the world.

We found out after his retirement that he was not only a liberal, which was evident from his broadcasts, but a “one-worlder.” In appearances before the World Federalist Association, which favors world government financed by global taxes, he called for the U.S. to renounce “some of its sovereignty” and pass a series of United Nations treaties-many of which are now being pushed in the Senate by President Barack Obama. Cronkite called for an “international Liberty Bell.”

I quote Kincaid’s article only to illustrate what many of us are now understanding with more clarity. The mainstream media is predominantly comprised of progressive liberals who want to shape the attitudes and opinions of the American public.

My purpose is not to smear or denigrate the good name of Walter Cronkite or anyone else who reported the news during those days. My goal is to simply point out that there was a time in our history when those who reported the news were trusted. Quite frankly, we did not have any idea of their political beliefs or motives. We just viewed the broadcast and print media as unbiased sources, free from personal opinion and ideology.

CapitolRemember, it was only a little over 40 years ago that two young reporters by the name of Woodward and Bernstein brought down the President of the United States. These two Washington Post reporters risked their own lives and reputations to give us the facts of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up by the White House.

Americans need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Instead, we are being force fed a steady stream of political correctness by the mainstream media that is facilitating the rhetoric of the progressive liberal agenda, and destroying this nation.

These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
give judgment in your gates for
truth, justice, and peace.
~ Zechariah 8:16

Adapted from my most recent book,
The Unraveling of America
by Dr. Ron M. Phillips
with Dr. J. Tod Zeiger
© 2016 Abba’s House Media

The Truth Will Set You Free… part 1

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels was the Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda under Adolph Hitler. As head of the Nazi propaganda machine, Goebbels understood that words carry weight, and that if you keep a narrative in front of the public long enough — regardless of how flawed or seemingly absurd — eventually people will become desensitized to it, and believe the lie.

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

Nuremberg 1Still reeling from the economic hardship that was a result of German’s defeat in World War I, when the stock market crashed in 1929, Germany was one of the hardest-hit nations in the world. Hitler, who had already come to be known as a not terribly significant figure on the public stage, began to emerge as a more serious political contender. In March of 1932, he lost the national election. However, less than a year later, he was made Chancellor of Germany as the result of having a Nazi majority in the Reichstag (German parliament). About two weeks later, the Reichstag building burned, and the arson was blamed on the Communist Party. Through fear and manipulation, a month later, Hitler was given dictatorial power. Over the next two years, Hitler began to lay the groundwork of eliminating his enemies, and going after the Jewish population of Germany. At the Nuremberg rally in 1934, the movie Triumph of the Will was produced, showing a glorious and revived Germany — patriotic and unified. At the same rally a year later, Hitler addressed “the Jewish problem”, and anti-Semitic laws began to be enacted.

Yet, in spite of this, in the summer of 1936, the world showed up in Berlin for the Olympic games, and were enchanted by the glory and graciousness of the people of Germany.

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

So how could the rest of world be so duped by one nation? How could the world community be so fooled by the Nazis? How is it that, in January of 1939, Adolph Hitler was named Time Magazine’s Man-of-the-Year for 1938?

Propaganda.

Having won multiple film awards throughout Europe, by 1935, Triumph of the Will was required viewing in German schools. Through groups like the “Hitler Youth” and “Hitler Maidens“, young children and teenagers were being indoctrinated into an ideology that put loyalty to the Führer above all. No opposition would be tolerated.

“Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

We know from history the end result: World War II, the Holocaust, millions of lives lost, the eventual collapse and defeat of Germany.

However, what you may not know is that at no point did the Nazis ever capture more than 37% of the popular vote.

Nuremberg 2So why did the German people turn the leadership of their nation over to a madman like Adolph Hitler? In a documentary film shown in the UK Holocaust Centre, then-student Margret Breuer made this observation as to why people voted for Hitler…

“… Because he promised so much! If you are out of work and don’t know how to live, and then someone comes who wants to change everything that is going wrong — and people felt like things were going badly. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even have listened to him.”

The lie is big on promises. The lie feeds on physical, emotional, and economic starvation. Where there are “sheep” suffering, there is usually at least one “wolf” in the crowd, ready to prey on the weak and unsuspecting. Once Hitler had a few who would listen, the lie began. Once he had a group of followers who bought into the lie, he had a platform from which to proclaim his message, and gain influence and power. Once he had a seat of power, he could manipulate the media. Once Hitler had control of the media, the lie was blasted from the rooftops, and from every bullhorn, loudspeaker, and radio in Germany.

“So where are you going with this, Pastor?” you might ask.

Last week, I blogged about the spirit of Jezebel. I talked about the fact that, although Jezebel has been dead and gone for centuries, the demonic influence that bears her name is alive and well. Likewise, I believe that the spirit of deception that was operating in Nazi Germany is alive and well, and evident in our country and world today…

  • Why are we seeing a resurgence in open and overt anti-Semitism in the world today?
  • Why is it that American Millennials believe that 40% of the U.S. population is LGBT?
  • Why is it that a conservative’s character can be unjustly assassinated in the media, while a liberal who is caught dead-to-rights knee-deep in scandal is given a pass by the same media?
  • How can it be that a celebrity can be hailed as a hero for “coming out”, while true heroes who have sacrificed life and limb are passed over for recognition?
  • Why does our government trivialize the threat of radical Islam in our own country while we watch Christians being slaughtered en masse around the world by barbarians such as ISIS?

As I said at the beginning, this is part 1 of a 2-part blog. At this time next week, we’re going to dive into some tough questions, and find the answers that will help you and I cut through the propaganda, and walk in truth and freedom.

Don’t miss it! See you next week.