Be Not Deceived

In view of the calamity that was coming upon national Israel, Jesus knew that in the decade before the final event in A.D. 70, the news media, especially the Jewish news media, would be reporting all sorts of nonsense in reference to the affairs of the times. Knowing that the calamity was coming, accompanied with all the sensationalism of the news media, thirty years before, Jesus warned His disciples, “Take heed that you not be deceived” (Lk 21:8). We would add, “Take heed that you not be deceived by the local and international news media concerning the events of the times.”

So one morning in our own home we sat there for a moment, stunned in our chairs! We just could not believe what came out of the mouth of an international news correspondent on our television news of April 2021. This was one of those moments when one simply falls back in his chair, pleasantly surprised by the use of one simple word, realizing that not all news reporters have lost their way by reporting either twisted or fake news.

The reporter’s frank use of a biblical word to cast judgment on another news media organization was reassuring. In the surreal experience of the moment, the word that was used by this “secular” reporter floated around in our living room, trying to unravel all our prejudices that had been implanted by the liberal news media of day. In some things, we too had allowed ourselves to be deceived. Nevertheless, we thought we would never hear such things coming forth from the secular news media, especially in these times when much of the news media have long forgotten their moral bearings.

My father grew up in the wake of the William Randolph Hearst (1863 – 1951) news media corporation of the first of the last century. I can still see my dad sitting in the living room of the old farm house after a long day in the field choking on either dust or grain chaff. But in the evening he would just sit there in that old hole-ridden armchair with the weekly newspaper held up and spread across the entire width of the chair. We could only identify him to be there by two legs that protruded from under the newspaper and the Prince Albert smoke from his pipe that bellowed up over the top of the newspaper.

One time after reading a provocative article, he slowly lowered the now worn newspaper, took that charred pipe out of his mouth, and said to all of us, “Boys . . . you can’t trust half of what you read in these newspapers. And the other half . . . well . . . you must always question its truth.”

I have never forgotten those wise words. Our father was living in an era after William Randolph Hearst had bought up newspapers across early twentieth century America, and by doing so, built the largest network of newspapers in the world. By controlling the editorials and news reports of local newspapers, Hearst figured out that he could have voted into or out of political offices those candidates he either favored or disliked. He would do his political deed by running stories, or propaganda—whichever you like–that favored one candidate and slandered the opponent. Hearst had no moral values in reference to honest news reporting in a democratic society. He was morally bankrupt. He was, as most corporate news media, into the news media for the money.

So on that April morning in our living room, when we heard the use of a three-letter word by an international news reporter, the judgment of God was enacted on most of the liberal Western news media of today. And would you believe it, that reporter who made the moral pronouncement was a Russian. Yes, a Russian news reporter.

The particular story upon which the Russian called down higher powers of judgment was a story that had been leaked from an employee of a well-known cable news network in America. The “whistle blower” revealed that it was the determined purpose of the cable news network to distort all their reporting during the last four years in a manner that would bring down the sitting President of the United States. As the story unfolded, it was explained that from the very top of the news organization, to the those who gave live panel reviews and reports throughout the election cycle, the determined purpose was to slant all stories in order to make the former President look bad, and thus, unelectable.

It was as if William Randolph Hearst had been resurrected from the dead and was now running this particular media organization. As Hearst, the news organization determined that they did not like the President of the time, so they would use all their influence through their “news” organization to bring him down.

In order to accomplish their deed, specialists in politics and doctors of medicine were scheduled for interviews who would assume that the administration was making all the wrong decisions concerning the pandemic. Reporters became political agents by presenting only one side of the story. The President was presumed to be in some alliance with foreign demons. The media organization, as the Hearst organization, had no moral value system by which to conduct honest reporting and interviews, and thus most of the personalities of the media network focused on a twisted understanding of the sitting President. Lies were pronounced to be truth. Good was called evil, and evil good.

This particular news corporation under consideration simply became a political arm of the opposition party. Objectivity in news reporting was sacrificed for hidden political agendas.

We then remembered the words of our father. Therefore, this was not news to us, only the old Hearst behavior that surfaced from within those who are in the business of selling twisted sensationalism. (It is particularly interesting to note that after all the sensationalism of the past four years in America, the number of viewers of the news corporation under consideration fell by 47% after the November 2020 election.)

The particular news media organization against which our Russian reporter made the striking condemnation had lost its moral compass. This was brought out in the leaked testimony of one of the employees of the offending corporate news organization. What was revealed was that the particular news organization under consideration persisted with the claim that they were an objective “news” media network. However, we must not forget that when either politicians or religionists lose their moral compass, they will always establish a corrupted behavioral pattern of leadership that will seek to win over and maintain the votes of the populace.

When the religionists of a society forsake the authority of the Scriptures in matters of faith (see Hs 4:6), they will invent their own authority, and thus use their religious inventions as the standard by which to make judgments in reference to the behavior of others (See Mk 7:1-9). In the same manner, when political leaders and news media lose their moral integrity, they too will go in search of demons to shoot and crucify. If they find none, then they will manufacture some. And sometimes, and if possible, police states will assume that all protestors in the streets are demons, and thus must be shot. Their leaders must be nailed on crosses.

Since liberal religionists have given up the authority of the word of God, they must have some standard by which to make judgments against their opposition. Someone or something must be demonized. Through propaganda (“lies”), they will convince the multitudes to crucify any opposition candidates. The Pharisees, scribes (lawyers) and Sadducees knew well this tactic.

It is no different with the liberal left in politics. Since the liberal left has forsaken any conservative principles by which to determine judgments, and thus, recruit the voters through principles and policies, they must demonize something or someone in order to persuade the people to vote for their party. The voter, without considering principles or policies for which to vote, thus becomes a puppet to vote against the manufactured demon.

In order to demonize an opposing candidate, in today’s world, much of the news media operates as the arm of the liberal left. Sometimes, the liberal left must extend its tentacles throughout the world in order that demons be found in the leadership of other countries. International leaders are thus judged either “tyrants,” being without souls, or dishonest merchants who seek to steal away our riches.

Liberals cannot win elections in a democratic state without demons, both locally and internationally. Collective opposition to demons is the only foundation upon which liberals have to stand. They win elections, therefore, by opposing their manufactured demons. They do not win by taking a stand on a foundation of moral principles and policies. If they established a moral standard upon which to stand in an election, then they would be considered conservatives. If you have forgotten this, then you are a prime candidate for the persuasion of the liberal news media that circles as vultures for those like themselves who have also lost their moral values, and especially their integrity. They circle because they have no moral compass to direct them to a specific location.

All of us who live outside America can see the vultures circling over America. It is as one respected reporter outside America recently stated, “It is now time that we start talking about end-of-empire issues in reference to America because that society is losing, if not already lost, its moral compass.” These are things that transition over a century or two, and thus are largely not realized by the citizens who live at any particular time within a society during its decline. Bible scholars who are deep into the history of the Old Testament realize these trends.

Moral decay is slow and always without social pain. Those who notice the decline are simply shouted, if not intimidated, into silence. In fact, the silence of the old guard of a declining empire is evidence that an empire is morally in decline. When the past majority that brought an empire to its zenith eventually becomes the minority, then the new majority threatens the old to the point that the old is intimidated into silence. “Cancel culture” is the order of the day since culture always reflects the past. The culture of “cancel culture” means that all discussion is over, and the new order seeks to suppress alternative ideas. (Any historian will reveal that this is an elementary principle to identify empires in decline.)

So back to our living room when we heard that Russian reporter turn to preaching. The Russian reporter was correct in making an assessment of the last four to five years of political conspiratorial behavior that was broadcast throughout the past election cycle. Though nauseatingly regurgitated from day to day from the American media corporation that had lost its integrity in the business of honest and objective news reporting, Russia, and much of the world, have simply dismissed one particular news network in reference to news reporting. When this story broke on the international Russian news network, Russia Today–the news media that was previously judged a demon by the liberal left–the Russian reporter pronounced his judgment. His judgment was a startling denunciation of the twisted behavior of the American cable news network. He judged, “This is SIN! It is beyond propaganda.” And the Russian was absolutely correct.

When declining democratic empires lose their moral compass, such is reflected in the candidates that the citizens of the empire chose to be their leaders. When the people lose their moral integrity, they will vote into office like-minded people.

Nevertheless, we will keep a cautious eye on the next few years of America. We are waiting to see if the now silenced moral minority will once again rise to save the nation.

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