[11]   Society (2): Mass Media & Political Correctness

Background:

A survey reports that 70% of self-defined liberals think the media has a liberal bias; 89% of journalists voted for Clinton; 61% of all journalists self-identify as liberals; only 2% self-identify as conservatives.

49.  How does the mass media influence the people?

a.   The mass media include newspaper, magazines, radio, television, audio and video recordings, and modern electronic communication systems (including the Internet).

b.   The mass media are powerful influences to the culture today:

·         Mass media can reach a large number of people and influence their values and worldviews directly.

·         Research shows that an average person watches TV 3-7 hours each day. A child between 6 and 18 would have spent over 15,000 hours watching TV compared to 13,000 hours spent in school.

·         Ted Turner, founder of the liberal CNN admits in 1989 that: “We are the ones that determine what people’s attitudes are. It’s in our hands.” [He also said, “Christianity is a religion for losers.”]

50.  Is there bias in mass media? What can Christians do about it?

a.   Even self-professed liberals admit that there is a liberal bias in mass media.

b.   Evidence of liberal bias: (see also statistics in Background section above)

·         A survey of Hollywood entertainment elite reported: only 33% said adultery is wrong; only 5% said homosexuality is wrong; 91% favour abortion; 90% “seldom or never attend religious services.”

·         Hollywood constantly promote their values of secularism, sexual liberation, radical feminism. They also denigrate religious faith, tradition, family, and patriotism. For example, the media often blasted abstinence-based campaigns like “True Love Waits” as an infantile approach.

·         A liberal homosexual admitted that “entertainment, media, and the arts are nonstop advertisements for homosexuality.” The media makes homosexuality look “cool”.

c.   Techniques used in biased reporting:

(1)  Suppression by omission: omitting news that the media dislike but concentrating only on news that reinforce their views.

(2)  Framing: creating wrong impressions by packaging the news (through amount of exposure, placement, tone of presentation) in a way to prove their views.

(3)  Manipulation of data: producing inaccurate data to exaggerate their views.

(4)  False balancing: only people sympathetic to the media’s viewpoint are selected for interviewing to produce a wrong impression that they represent the whole population. Sometimes the media deliberately select weak conservative debaters to make their arguments look weak.

(5)  Labelling: putting a label before a person with the intention to discredit their view by implying that the person has biased or extremist views, particularly against conservatives.

d.   What can Christian do about media bias?

·         Avoid getting all the news from the liberal media. Adopt a more skeptical attitude towards news from major TV news channels.

·         Obtain news from less biased websites, including Christian and conservative websites.

51.  What is the meaning of “political correctness”?

a.   Origin:

·         Political Correctness (PC) is a communal tyranny that aims at preventing minorities being offended. It started in the 1980s and evolved into a widely accepted avoidance of words, ideas, expressions, and behaviour that may upset any minorities (homosexuals, women, none-whites, the crippled, the mentally impaired, the fat). It is now the unwritten law in society.

·         The theme of PC becomes: TOLERANCE for a DIVERSITY of cultures, race, gender, ideology, religions, and alternate lifestyles (homosexuality, cohabitation). Since the majority in North America are (supposed to be) Christians, PC becomes the excuse for attacking Christians.

·         Since this is the only social and morally acceptable outlook, anyone who disagrees with this philosophy is not tolerated and will be silenced by the mob.

·         The ultimate objective is to make any person or any behaviour contrary to PC forbidden by law so that people who transgressed will be punished by the government.

b.   Themes of political correctness are originated from ethical relativism. The are half truths.

·         Theme 1: Tolerance

o        Tolerance is good. But the demand for PC of “tolerance even for all immoral acts” becomes wrong.

·         Theme 2: Diversity

o        Acceptance of diversity is good. But the demand for PC of “attainment of diversity even with unjust means” (like suppressing religious freedom of Christians, destroying traditional family) becomes wrong.

c.   Extension of diversity or pluralism:

·         Pluralism is the belief that there are many different cultures, religions and value systems, none of them should be recognized as the only truth. Everyone needs to respect others’ beliefs and try not to offend other people. Since some people are atheists, everyone has to respect them and try to avoid any reference to “God”. This in fact becomes the tyranny of the minority.

·         To avoid offending women, the preferred personal pronouns is a neutral one. Therefore, using the word “man” to refer to human species is not PC and must be changed. Such reasoning extends to justify the attempt to make the Bible gender neutral. Even God is referred to as Father/Mother.

·         To avoid offending homosexual people, Christians must not describe homosexuality as sin.

·         To avoid offending non-Christians, the word “Christmas” should be avoided as much as possible.

d.   Changes called “progress”:

·         The word “progress” sounds positive. It is defined as a “will to change” and to dismantle tradition.

·         “Progress” is the term now frequently used for the quest for excessive rights. However, when what is described as “progress” destroys godly and traditional values, it is regress, not progress.

e.   Two examples of large scale cultural change hailed by liberals as “progress” (in 1960s):

(1)  Counterculture: rebelling against authority

(2)  Sexual revolution: popularizing sexual promiscuity

f.    Conservativism vs. Liberalism:

·         Conservatism emphasizes the preservation of traditional values. Changes are to be adopted slowly and only after careful reasoning. The emphasis is on reasoning.

·         Liberalism emphasize change (“progress”) shaped by modern values. Changes are often made to make everyone feel good. The emphasis is on feeling.

·         Biblical position:

o        economic or fiscal issues: emphasis on the responsibility to help the poor and the weak

o        social issues: emphasis on traditional (conservative) moral values because God does not change

·         Ideal: compassionate conservatism which upholds traditional values and at the same time being compassionate to the weak.

52.  How should Christians confront the tyranny of political correctness?

a.   The development of political correctness is a good example of the “slippery slope”. Tolerance and diversity began as good social concepts but evolved into forces that attack Christianity.

b.   For Christians, tolerance does not include condoling immoral acts.

c.   Christians are not to conform and yield to the pressure of political correctness. We can be proud of being politically INcorrect when moral principles are involved.

d.   Christians need to be cautious when someone uses the buzz words of “tolerance”, “diversity”, “pluralism”, “progress” to convince Christians that changes are good.