Media Bias: Going Beyond the Headlines

  • Introductions. Do you think there is a bias in the media? Which way? How do you know?
  • Restatement of theme:
    • “If this issue was the reason a non-believer gave as their obstacle to Christianity, what would we say to them?”
    • Theme verse: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” (Matthew 13:19)
  • Topic for Today: Media Bias
    • Why ought Christians be careful with what they read in the news?
      • What Scriptures come to mind?
      • 1 Peter 5:8—talking (in context) about physical persecution, it seems, but I doubt that Satan is going to avoid poisoning our thoughts
      • 1 Peter 3:15—also about persecution—but also about being prepared to give a defense, which requires correct knowledge
      • John 20:1—The disciples thought that Christ’s death was the whole story in the news. Soon, though, they’d find out that the real story was much bigger and great and different than they imagined.
      • Proverbs—seek wisdom!
    • Overview of ideas of media bias:
      • There are accusations of the media being both “too liberal” and “too conservative” and even “becoming biased by overcompensating.”
      • Charges range from reporters being individually biased to news corporations being primarily motivated the corporations that own them to sensationalist bias, where “any political slant is overwhelmed by the media organization’s drive to report the stories that will sell newspapers and draw viewers, and to report them in the most eye-catching way they can.”
      • Happened a lot, historically.
      • Necessarily bad? Not necessarily—don’t we value the freedom to speak our point of view?
      • Information from Wikipedia
    • Activity: Reading the Headlines
      • More than discussing what bias the media might have, I think it’s most important for us to learn how to find out Truth as best as we can.
      • Handout headlines for the following articles:
        • Drug stash saved my life, says hostage - A woman taken hostage by a man accused of gunning down a judge and two other people inside a courthouse has said she escaped death by giving him crystal methamphetamine. (from The New Zealand Herald)
        • Bush: God told me to invade Iraq, President ‘revealed reasons for war in private meeting’ - President George Bush has claimed he was told by God to invade Iraq and attack Osama bin Laden’s stronghold of Afghanistan as part of a divine mission to bring peace to the Middle East, security for Israel, and a state for the Palestinians. (from The Independent)
        • Pro-Family Groups Challenge ‘.xxx’ Domain - You can help stop the porn industry from gaining new ground on the Internet. Pro-family groups are appealing to the nonprofit corporation that oversees Internet domain names worldwide to reject an effort to establish a ‘.xxx’ top-level domain. (from CitizenLink)
      • What to you assume from the headlines that you see? Discuss.
      • Handout the for further reading articles, or at least discuss the “rest of the story.”


© 2005-2007 David and Rita Hjelle