Can We Trust the Media?

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Much of the media’s coverage of the new presidential administration has included various charges of bias, misrepresentation, outright untruths, statements taken out of context, and so on.

It’s interesting that in many instances, if you came across an item on the Fox News Channel and then watched coverage about the same news story on networks like CNN or MSNBC, you’d think you were hearing about two totally different events!

In reality, what much of the media has been doing in its coverage about politics is similar to the way they report on Christian organizations like Answers in Genesis.

For example, in February of 2014, immediately after the much-publicized debate I had with Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” CNN commentator and interviewer Piers Morgan conducted a live interview with Nye and me. I was told that Morgan wanted to talk about the debate.

The first question (or should I say the first false accusation) from Morgan was to ask me why I didn’t believe in climate change! I was stunned momentarily. I had understood the questions would relate to the just-completed debate on evolution/creation!

When I replied that I agreed that climate change occurs, both Nye and Morgan tried to tell me that I didn’t! I explained to them that the disagreement was over why climate change occurs. Morgan showed he really wasn’t interested in the truth. He just wanted to try to undermine my integrity as a creationist.

Many secular reporters have an anti-Christian and anti-creationist agenda, and they frame their reports that way.

When I first became involved in creation-apologetics ministry in Australia, I found that most journalists simply reported on what we were doing and teaching. Understandably, they often interviewed evolutionists, and we were not surprised when I was criticized.

In recent times, though, I have found that many secular reporters have an anti-Christian and anti-creationist agenda, and they frame their reports that way. The hostility happens so much nowadays that many times after reading a secular news item about what I supposedly stated, I will remark to my colleagues,

I believe they wrote this item before they even interviewed me! They just used my interview in order to claim they were reporting on our position. But all along, the reporter was going to misrepresent our position, regardless of what I would say!

Over and over again, many secular reporters use emotive language, ad hominem attacks, and misrepresentations in their attempt to marginalize and create doubt about a person’s integrity.

Creation Wise: Unbiased Media

Reporters often follow the adage, “If you throw enough mud, some of it will stick.”

For instance, Christians are often accused by reporters of being “intolerant” because they disagree with secular positions. In reality, what we have often seen after the presidential election is that liberal left-wing advocates are some of the most intolerant people of all.

When I tell the media that I disagree with gay “marriage” because of what the Bible teaches, they call me intolerant—and tell me that I’m filled with hate. We are slammed as homophobic. Now, we do not hate others just because we disagree with them. But many of these secular reporters show hatred toward us because we, basing our thinking on the Bible, don’t agree with their positions. They describe our disagreement with their view as hatred!

When I’ve said abortion is wrong because life begins at fertilization and humans are made in God’s image (again based on the teachings of the Bible), I’m accused of hating women and am called a misogynist.

Also, no matter how many times I tell reporters that we love science and employ several PhD scientists (and work with many adjunct scientists), we are called antiscience simply because we don’t accept the belief in evolution over millions of years. And because we have a different interpretation (as do many other scientists) as to why climates change, we are called “climate change deniers.”

We shouldn’t be surprised at such behavior from people like secular reporters.

Really, we shouldn’t be surprised at such behavior from people like secular reporters. It’s nothing new. Remember, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and the Pharisees plotted to kill Lazarus (John 12:10) to get rid of the evidence. Jesus healed a man born blind, but the Pharisees refused to believe he was healed (John 9:18–20). Jesus came, died, and rose from the dead, yet the evidence was suppressed by the authorities (Matthew 28:12–13; Luke 16:31). God tells us that those who reject creation and the global Flood deliberately refuse to believe, regardless of the overwhelming evidence that confirm these accounts (2 Peter 3:5–6).

And really, their behavior confirms what Romans 1 tells us, that those who reject God “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

No, of course we can’t trust most of the secular media! But there is One we can trust absolutely: Jesus, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

AiG and the Media

Since AiG opened the Creation Museum almost 10 years ago, we have conducted well over 1,000 media interviews. Most of them have been with the secular press, including all the major TV networks and newspapers in America, along with countless interviews with international outlets. On one day alone last July (just before our Ark Encounter opened), I conducted 25 TV interviews in a six-hour period!

These interviews can be challenging. We must carefully weigh every word as AiG speaks to an often-hostile media. Indeed, we expect that most secular media will not cover AiG in a balanced way. Still, AiG appreciates the many opportunities we have to present the creation/gospel message through various media channels. In almost all instances, we agree to interview requests. (Some reporters are so hostile and unfair that we decline their requests, however.)

When a story appears and we point out major factual errors to reporters or their editors, corrections are rarely made. For example, the The New York Times has refused (in writing) to correct a falsehood about the Ark’s funding. A nationally syndicated Times’ columnist falsely stated that the Ark was being built “with $43 million in state tax incentives.”1 The year before, a Times’ editorial against the Ark Encounter made a similar false claim.2 The brief letters we submitted to the Times’ editors to correct these errors, in which we stated that taxpayers “will not see their money used to build the Ark Encounter and no money will be taken out of the state’s budget to fund the Ark,” were never printed.

When a newspaper publishes an editorial that expressly opposes a group’s view or its initiative, journalistically it is ethically incumbent upon the paper to print a rebuttal letter submitted by the group that was criticized.

Footnotes

  1. Charles M. Blow, “Dinosaurs and Denial,” The New York Times, December 8, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/opinion/blow-dinosaurs-and-denial.html.
  2. “Crossing the Church-State Divide by Ark,” The New York Times (editorial), May 31, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/opinion/31tue4.html.

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