RT anchor Liz Wahl, 2012
Photo by RT America, used under CCA-Unported
The bias of the news media is evident in so many ways these days, but we need to not forget that there are dedicated propaganda machines like Russia Today that some people, for whatever reason, take quite seriously. One of the first ever episodes I watched of RT, before I even knew what “RT” stood for, had guest Rosanne Barr on it. I felt like I was watching through a portal into a parallel universe.
We have to accept that some news sources are inherently biased. That is why it was sort of a surprise that the Daily News and other sites have posted video like “SEE IT: ‘Russia Today’ anchor Liz Wahl quits live on air over Vladimir Putin’s military action in Crimea“.
The self-described “Filipina-Hungarian-American” said she faces several “ethical and moral challenges” as a reporter for the network.
I have to admit that that is an interesting background, and she related that her grandparents fled Hungary to escape the boot of the USSR, and she still has relatives that live in that part of the world and deal with poverty daily. Her “partner” is apparently a physician in the US military, and she feels that she is an patriot.
Understandably, RT calls it all a publicity stunt for personal gain.
However, I, for one, am not so quick to applaud her. Maybe if it were possible to clap with one hand, then I would consider it.
I have no doubt that it took guts to do what she did. I don’t know if her days as a reporter are over or not, but I am left to ponder who will hire her after a stunt like this. Another fringe group, maybe? She has basically laid it all on the line, after all.
Still, doesn’t anyone ponder why she was working for them in the first place? America bashing was evident on every occasion I had ever watched any portion of their “news” and commentary. I mean, it is none-too-subtle, either! Even she admits this:
“RT is not about the truth,” Wahl said. “It’s about promoting a Putinist agenda. It’s also about bashing America.”
Exactly! It isn’t news; it’s propaganda!
“We receive nominations from absolutely everywhere in the world,” [Norwegian Nobel Institute’s Director Geir Lunderstad] said.
Yep, old Vladi has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!
It was all in a day’s work for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, whose name popped up Wednesday among the record 278 put forward for the prestigious prize.
Putin, who is also known for his persecution of gay Russians, was reportedly nominated for helping defuse last year’s crisis in Syria.
Never mind that Putin is the power behind the brutal Syrian despot who caused the crisis by gassing his own people.
In all fairness, there are some other “notables” on the list as well.
When news media becomes the mouth of propaganda, then it degrades the integrity and trust in news. When institutions like the Nobel Institute are similarly used, the effect is the same.
When people are ruled in a trustworthy and righteous manner, the nation flourishes. When society acts with integrity and fairness, then stability is the result. When human institutions become corrupt tools of corrupt people in power, then restlessness, skepticism and lack of trust prevail. If left festering, the result is revolution.
What Benefit Is Lying?
6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the Lord.
~ Ps 31:6
Over and over again, the Bible makes it clear that God hates lying. God is a God of truth, after all. His entire character is built upon integrity. We are to have faith in Him! Faith is really just another word for “trust“, but in a more complete sense!
So, why risk doing something that even on a human level is so abhorrent?
The real answer lies in short term goals. Very short term. Lying is a means to look better in the eyes of other human beings. It might be a means to an end, like flattery is a means to manipulating someone in order to get what you want from them, but it still serves to make yourself look better in the eyes of others, even if that is only an objective rather than the goal.
Speaking of tainted news sources, I’m beginning to believe that the New Republic should rename itself to the “Banana Republic“, pun intended. Recently, Tikhon Dzyadko wrote, “Putin Doesn’t Know What He Wants in Ukraine“. It starts out sanely enough:
It’s easy to lose your mind in Russia, especially if you try to find a logic in the government’s actions, especially in the realm of foreign policy. The more acute the situation, the closer insanity comes creeping in: before your eyes, black turns to white, blatant aggression is “peacekeeping,” and hostilities towards a sovereign state are depicted as noble deeds. And this is where we find ourselves today, as Russia finds itself on the brink of war with neighboring Ukraine.
However, he cites all of the contradictory reports inside and outside of the Kremlin to state:
It seems that the invasion of Ukraine is being done merely to remind the world about Russia and that it is a powerful regional player. But this is a game without an endgame. If Russian troops annex the Crimea or march further into eastern Ukraine, what will Russia do with this bounty? I doubt anyone in the Kremlin knows.
And, yet, buried in there is the truth, IMO. Perhaps “it seems that” way because it is that way. Putin has made it no secret that he thought he fall of the USSR was a catastrophe. He has made no bones about showing he is a powerful leader, even if means appearing rugged and topless for public consumption, looking at downed tigers and the like.
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Comparing ourselves to others, by the lust and desire of wanting to be liked more, looked up to more, or viewed as being more powerful than others leads to lies, deceit and slanting the truth.
This is why we should not compare ourselves to others but to Christ. For we all fall short of that yardstick. And, if there is anything to boast of or about, if there is anything of glory, then all of the credit goes to Christ.
17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
~ v 17
In the end, lying and propaganda benefit us nothing at all. In the end, the truth is all that matters, and the truth is that nothing we can do is truly of our own power. God, through Christ, created all that there is, whether seen or unseen. What power we were given is the result of God’s creative power, so anything we have we truly do not own.
Our very lives are temporary. We do not even own our lives. We are rented this physical existence. Boasting and lying will not extend it.
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Think about what this means in practical terms. If worry and anxiety will not fix things in the long run, then how much less will lies, propaganda, slanders and stretching the truth fix anything long term?
We need to objectively evaluate the “news” sources we deal with on a daily basis, but we also need to be evaluating ourselves objectively with the same yardstick as Passover approaches.
I include this under “discernment”, as in you need to discern the spin of the news of the day, but have you ever considered how discernment also applies in how you evaluate yourself and your own spiritual condition?