Fear serves as media’s favorite manipulative tool
The competition for sensational, adrenaline provoking news stories drives the press, sucking more people into the world of information and panic. Fear constantly rewards the modern media. The 24/7 news cycle carries on headline after headline, carefully constructed to incite
this powerful mental state.
The media’s desire for money and audience expansion accounts for part of their reason to use their most impressively unnerving rhetoric in their headlines and articles. The instant gratification culture of action movies and video games has encouraged this. Understandably, journalists try to write the most exciting, thought-provoking stories they can. This alone should be reason enough for readers to use discernment while reading the news.
In addition, each journalist carries an inherent bias with them no matter who they are. If journalists know fear’s ability to affect people’s actions, would not there be an almost unbearable temptation to use it to press one’s own agenda? Especially if a newspaper or journalist condones this agenda, they are quickly able to intensify a story or to insert their opinion solely from the way they choose to word their sentences and the facts they choose to leave out. Read through any news site and notice the fear of a forecasted event, candidate or stereotype that is subtly or bluntly trying to be instilled in the reader. They strategically use every ounce of craziness and scariness existing in the world, tapping into an instrumental aspect of human nature.
The Bible’s heavy emphasis on the commandment “Do not fear” and “Fear God alone” shows how critical what one fears is to one’s life. Whatever a person fears will completely and utterly control them. It is important to be both informed and discerning, carefully processing information. Christians should desire the total truth but, even when the truth is terrifying, the peace of the truth of Jesus Christ should always be able to outweigh our autopilot fear mode. Allowing man’s imperfect take on the state and forecast of this chaotic world control oneself is detrimental to anyone’s mental and spiritual health. It is a dangerous place to have your fear based on the cues of an ungodly world.
This is not to say that Christians should not be wise or disregard the struggles in the world. We should care. However, Christians should desire the truth, examining articles and thinking through all sides of the story.
What type of agenda is a fearful, biased, greedy world trying to carry out? It is important to ask questions and not trust everything said. Christians should be basing their inner peace on the fact that there is a God so completely and beautifully in control of our lives that we cannot even imagine the full implications of it. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” Remembering these words can protect from the insanity one can spiral into when one’s peace is controlled by the news.