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Is the Free Press Free? 

Steven Spielberg directed a movie recently called “The Post.” It was the story of how a newspaper risked violating a court order by publishing “The Pentagon Papers,” a classified study of the Vietnam War. 

(The Pentagon Papers was the top-secret Department of Defense study of our nation's political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.)


In the movie there was a quote from one of the Supreme Court Justices that rule in favor of the press having the freedom to publish information that was critical of its government. Here is what he said.

"In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors." (Judge Hugo Black, writing for the 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court majority that decided in favor of the press.)


The movie was good, and of course it portrayed The Washington Post newspaper doing what many would call today a righteous deed in exposing the lies and cover-ups of our government concerning the Vietnam War. 

This got me thinking.

If the press is free enough to keep our government honest, then who keeps the press honest? No one wants to censor the exchange of ideas and opinions, yet the majority of the press does just that. Who checks out the media’s facts and opinions?  Broadcast outfits have the power of the news hours to peddle almost any slant they desire on the news of the day with little to no pushback on their stories. 

Judge Hugo Blackhad a good idea in his quote, and for his day it was appropriate. Today, however, the media is no longer representing the governed, it is representing an ideology that pushes against the Judeo-Christian values that founded our country. If there is a story in the news about abortion, the story is about rights, not the ramifications brought about by this procedure. I remember not too many years ago we had stories about AIDS and the epidemic it created. Today, it seems that we have cured AIDS since it is no longer a topic of discussion anywhere. The point I am making is that the media is a poor way of getting any kind of reliable information. Journalists write and produce their stories according to how they are politically wired, and rarely do they simply present the facts, because all facts can be manipulated to support a cause. 

Is the press free?  Yes it is free to mislead, misrepresent, misdiagnose, miss the point, and miss the boat. Like so many other industries in our day there is very little integrity anymore when it comes to telling the truth. This is primarily because we don’t believe there is an ultimate truth teller in the universe. Everyone has to fend for himself or herself when it comes to discovering what kind of truth is appropriate. Without a gold standard for truth, you have fake truth, which is everywhere today, and most people can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is not. That is the goal of our age to create an environment where you keep people guessing and the opinions are a dime a dozen. The media contributes nicely to this agenda. 

I am reminded of what Jesus said in John 8:31-32 So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and thetruth will set you free.” 

There is only one free press and that is God’s Word. There you will never be disappointed by what you read and you will never be overwhelmed by fake news. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

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