CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

More Jaundiced Journalism

Jun 22, 2009

To get a job in the mainstream media today is not all that difficult. Let’s say you want to write for one of the major newspapers, such as the Age or Sydney Morning Herald. You do not necessarily have to be a great writer. You do not necessarily have to be very smart. You do not have to be great with logic or even fair with the facts.

All you really need is the proper ideological stamp of approval. That is, all you really need is to share the same political, social and ideological views as most others in the MSM. If you are to the left, secular, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-Western, muddle-headed about Islam, and heavily into Political Correctness – among other things – you stand a very good chance indeed of making it into the MSM and rising in the ranks.

Of course in the old days one actually had a bit of balance here. Not too long ago you actually read both sides of a debate in the MSM. I even had articles – not just letters, but whole length articles – published in the MSM, even articles criticising the homosexual juggernaut. I had an article in the Melbourne Age for example in July 1994 attacking the idea of homosexual parenting. In September 1996 I had an article critiquing the sex-fiend Kinsey in the Australian.

Many other articles of mine made it into print during the previous decade. But that was then, this is now. Today it is nearly impossible to get something similar into the MSM. I have offered numerous articles to the press over the past few years, but it has been quite some time since any was accepted. It seems there are two options here: either my writing skills have really taken a turn for the worse over the past decade or so, or the MSM has cemented its secular left stance, and is simply refusing to accept any contrary views on some of these hot potato issues. If it is the latter option, there is a name for it: it is called censorship.

Consider as a typical example of jaundiced journalism a recent opinion piece in the SMH by Lisa Pryor entitled, “Here’s an idea: what if the Government introduced voluntary gay marriage?” It had all the elements of a great MSM piece: short on facts, long on ad hominem attacks; short on logical argument, long on twisted thinking; short on morality, long on perversity.

It was all about – and I know this will really floor you – the acceptance of homosexuality. That only makes six trillion, 469 million pro-homosexuality articles in the MSM in the past decade or so. And it was a typical PC fluff piece, full of misinformation, distortion and rhetoric. Indeed, I was so taken by what a wretched article it was, that I began my letter to the editor of the SMH with these words:

“Here’s an idea: what if journalists actually used logical arguments instead of ad hominem attacks, non-sequiturs and red herrings? The juvenile piece by Ms Pryor shows that for some people misrepresenting and vilifying one’s opponents is preferred to actually dealing with substantive arguments.”

Ms Pryor resorts to the usual gutter tactic of not actually addressing the arguments of her opponents, but simply smearing them instead. Attacking the person is always a lot easier than dealing with the argument. So guess what: we learn in this piece that everyone who disagrees with her is a “bigot”.

Well there you go. We all dislike bigots now don’t we? Ms Pryor informs us that anyone who challenges her and opposes same-sex marriage is simply a bigot. That’s a pretty good way to short-circuit a debate. After all, we shouldn’t have to deal with bigots – just keep demonising them.

But in addition to being mere name calling, this charge is simply quite illogical. Simply affirming that marriage is between a man and a woman is not in the least being bigoted. To affirm the heterosexual nature of marriage is of course no more bigoted than to affirm that parliamentary voting is for adults, not children; that a newspaper opinion piece is for people, not horses; and that the Sydney Roosters is for rugby players, not jockeys.

Marriage has always been a social institution concerned with regulating human sexuality and rearing the next generation. If people don’t like the inherent limitations of marriage, redefining it out of existence is not the answer.

And Ms Pryor is being completely disingenuous when she claims: “Under my novel proposal, bigots would be free to keep marrying as they wish. Fundamentalist figures would still be free to preach, during marriage ceremonies, about how in God’s eyes marriage as anything other than a union between a man and a woman is an abomination, how sexual love is something to be saved for the wedding night, and all those other things heterosexual couples go through the motions of believing because they want to marry in a building with high ceilings and a low cover charge.”

This of course is sheer nonsense. Creating a new right always entails new obligations. If we pull a right out of the hat for same-sex marriage, that will mean society will have a duty to see that right realised. Anyone refusing to go down that path will of course then be dealt with by the full force of the law.

This is occurring throughout the Western world, where people who dare to counter the militant homosexual activists are being denied their rights and freedoms. That sounds like real bigotry to me.

And she of course is out of her depth when she starts informing us what biblical Christianity is supposed to be all about: “Most Christians, I would like to think, see love and acceptance as the most important elements of the Christian message.”

Sorry, but Christianity is first and foremost about truth, not sloppy sentimentalism and PC morality. The truth is God is a holy and righteous God who hates sin absolutely, but loves sinners with a passion. The Christian message is that God has sent his son Jesus to die for our sins, and to make a way for us to be set free from our sinful addictions and our addictive sins.

Loving and accepting what God calls sinful is the very opposite of the Christian message. Letting people know that they can be set free from sin and self is the heart of the Christian message.

Her concluding line is as inane and irrational as the rest of her article: “For those who are still concerned, here is a better dilemma to ponder: what is so Christian about an institution which lets in straight atheists and even Satanists, but excludes gay Christians?”

She is once again altogether wrong, regardless of what she means by “lets in”. If she means by that phrase, church membership, then I am not aware of any church that lets in Satanists or atheists. But if she means letting church doors be open to one and all, to allow them to hear the gospel, then of course not only Satanists, atheists, but homosexuals as well can and do come to churches all the time.

Sadly the entire article is filled with such lame and tired rhetoric. It adds nothing to the debate. Indeed, it actually works to shut down debate. Ms Pryor thinks she is so right that she does not have to actually address facts, evidence and argument. Simply throw mud, and hope that has made your case.

Well, that may be good enough for the SMH and much of the MSM, but it is not good enough in the real world where ideas matter and truth is important. Which is why there will always be alternate media outlets, such as this one.

www.smh.com.au/opinion/heres-an-idea-what-if-the-government-introduced-voluntary-gay-marriage-20090619-cr4f.html

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14 Responses to More Jaundiced Journalism

  • I read her as in referring to Satanists and atheists, that this was in relation to the institution of marriage. i.e. even a Satanist or atheist can get married.

    I don’t think any Christian would have a problem with ANY heterosexual marriage, since we would all hopefully agree that this is a good thing, instituted by God. Why stop someone doing something which is good, even if they are not Christian?

    The churches and christians are not going around demanding that every marriage be a CHRISTIAN marriage, or that the definition be changed so that only Christian marriages are recognised, so her point misses the mark.

    Paul Strecker

  • You would think that the Church does not “let in” atheists – but there is Bishop Holloway, is there not?
    http://quark2.net/News/Church/1999/08/Scottish_Bishop_defends_atheism_and_promiscuity.aspx
    Frankly, I avoid the MSM as much as possible – but pity us in the UK, who have to support it (and have no say over how our money is used) – the TV licence.
    John Thomas, UK

  • Thanks Paul

    Yes you could be right as to what she meant by “institution”. She was a bit ambiguous there.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I wonder how many readers will pick up on how she reveals her blatant bias in one sentence:

    “what is so Christian about an institution which lets in straight atheists and even Satanists, but excludes gay Christians?”

    It should be written:

    “what is so Christian about an institution which lets in Christian straight atheists and even Christian Satanists, but excludes gay Christians?”.

    There. Much more even (and ridiculous). If we are talking about ‘letting in’, then she should know the oldest formula in the book:

    Belong, believe, behave. It’s just the way of (Christian) things.

    Tristan Ingle, Sydney.

  • Words fall upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. -George Owell

    We now live in an age where there is a proliferation of words that are meaningless and senseless. Perhaps in the future they will look back upon this age as time of the great redefinition where logic and reason were obscured by that vast propaganda of a disobedient and rebellious people who thought they knew better than God Himself and the testimony of His providence in history.

    Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)

    Better to be a fool for Christ than a hero of the broadsheets.

    Phil Twiss

  • An excellent letter in response to the article:
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/letters/redefining-marriage-on-a-whim-is-not-the-states-job-20090622-ctv9.html

    BTW, what is it with so many people that they can’t seem to figure out that if God doesn’t denounce homosexuality anymore as per Leviticus 18 & 20, then incest must be OK now as well? Or explain why Jesus quoted from right between the two (Leviticus 19:18) in stating the second greatest commandment and also didn’t exactly have glowing words to say about Sodom and Gomorrah?

    I happen to have just finished going through Exodus and am just starting Leviticus, so it’s pretty clear to me that Pryor’s approach to Scripture is shallow and twisted.

    Mark Rabich

  • She has managed to avoid properly arguing the truth of these complex issues by tossing innuendos at “half-truths” of things like the common grace of God to all mankind.

    But sadly, it sounds as if she has had a bad experience of the “Christian” church in her past. I wonder at the sense of bitterness behind her caricatures of Christian wedding ceremonies.

    But I agree, Bill that none of that excuses the SMH and similar press outlets giving her such a forum to promulgate her views.

    John Angelico

  • I have had my own brush with the media. Years ago I posted to a local newspaper what I thought was a straightforward letter critical of homosexuality. The next day, after coming home from work, I was surprised to hear from my wife that a journalist rang her up to find out more about me. My letter was published but censored, removing references to the medical problems to which homosexuals are prone. This happened at a time when the newspaper in question was changing from a conservative family-friendly journal to a politically correct rag that seems designed for the new generation of Leftwing, not- religious, bourgeois yuppies. Newspapers are not the only ones that can misrepresent dissenting views. The worst offenders in my experience have been Humanist journals.

    The good news about politically correct types like Ms Pryor is that they are very error prone. They are like ducks in a barrel providing you with the ammunition you need. Their generation will eventually die out. Cleaning up their mess will take time.

    John Snowden

  • Dear Bill, Don’t worry YOUR standard of writing hasn’t slipped.That’s why so many log in regularly to CultureWatch. It is the standards of newspaper articles which have slipped. That is why hardly anyone who enjoys a good newspaper article hardly ever buys them. If anyone has the misfortune to encounter a bigot then one could ask them this simple question: ‘If it were possible to reasonably answer all the arguments you have put forward would you be satisfied then?’ Arguments such as God’s Existence, The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, The Inquisition, etc etc. The answer would most likely be no because the problem lies not in having the arguments reasonably answered but in the person themselves. They just don’t want to see another point of view because it would cost them too much like giving up something to hate and ridicule. Yours Sincerely and God Bless,
    Patricia Halligan

  • Unbelievable.

    The SMH published no less than 5 critical responses to Chris Meney’s excellent letter, and none in support (and I know they received at least one). Not surprisingly, the inherent stupidity and illogical thoughts in them echoed the overwhelming dumbness of Pryor’s original article. Of course, there is the usual mixing up of the reasons for the institution with the individuals taking advantage of it. But the one that took the cake was the factually incorrect claim that marriage has been strengthened in Scandinavia since the acceptance of same-sex marriage. That is a blatant and evil lie. The exact opposite has in fact been documented by Stanley Kurtz, even when challenged about his conclusions.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/kurtz/kurtz200402020917.asp
    http://www.nationalreview.com/kurtz/kurtz200405040841.asp

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/letters/its-a-sorry-state-when-elderly-tenants-are-turfed-out-20090623-cv7w.html?page=-1

    Yes indeed, debate and reason on this subject are closed according to the SMH.

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks Mark

    Yes that is another common tactic of the secular left MSM which I have experienced first hand over the years. They will print a token conservative letter, pretending they are being balanced. Then the next day a deluge of attack letters will appear. It is all a setup, in other words. And they most likely simply told their secular left buddies to write in the letters.

    This is your typical even-handedness in the MSM.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill,
    This poor woman Lisa Pryor seems to be making the same mistake that the pharisees made when they accused Jesus of eating with sinners and tax collectors in Luke 15, which was of course the reason Jesus told the wonderful parables of the lost sheep, coin and then prodigal sons. She misunderstands Christian motives in accepting all people as welcome in our churches. All people are welcome, but that does not mean we condone their lifestyles. The pharisees thought that Jesus was condoning the lifestyles of the prostitutes and tax collectors by eating with them. No way!! He was celebrating His and His Fathers’ grace and their ACCEPTANCE of Their grace with them. We are the same to these homosexual activists. Despite their ramblings, we can still celebrate Christs’ love for them, even if they don’t get it. Partys’ been going for the last 2000 odd years!
    May the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth open these peoples’ eyes to see the harmful effects of their one-sided propoganda.
    Blessings,
    Lou d’Alpuget

  • “Then the next day a deluge of attack letters will appear. It is all a setup, in other words.”

    During the late fifties I had a high school friend who went on to become a top journalism student at the University of Queensland. He eventually got a job at a local newspaper where managing letters to the editor was one of his duties. He admitted to me that he fabricated some letters to liven things up. Makes one wonder what goes on behind the scenes these days.

    John Snowden

  • Well, you see, it all began in Genesis. There God created the women for the man, as his uniquely compatible and complementary “helpmeet,” after showing that other creations just would not do. (Gn. 2:18-24; cf. 1Cor. 11:8) And this union of opposite genders is the only one God sanctified by marriage, while only condemning homosexual relations wherever it is explicitly dealt with. And none of the inordinate attempts by pro homosexual polemicists to negate the Biblical injunctions against homosex, or to force homosex into passages it does not belong in, can withstand sound examination. http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/Homosex_versus_the_Bible.html

    But what also happened in Genesis was the manifestation of liberal rebellion and its victim mentality, with its revisionist theology, as the devil sought to be portray Eve as the victim as a malevolent moral authority, and to indulge in what was forbidden. (Gn. 3)

    The MSM is largely of the same spirit, and as Pilate and Herod became friends due to making Christ their common enemy, the MSM will promote most anything that will serve their desire to cast the living and true God out, and and exchange Him for one more to their liking, whether it be deity or man, so that they may further the 60’s sensual revolution, which most of them are graduates of.

    Daniel Hamilton

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