Recent Articles | About Authors | About the Syndicate | Archives
To receive a plain text copy of this article by email, see info at the bottom of this page.
Copyright: © 2010 Gary Hardaway
LET'S VERIFY BEFORE TRUSTING
By: Gary Hardaway
The recent passing of national syndicated columnist, James Kilpatrick, 89, brought back a fascinating incident, especially relevant today, as journalism continues to sink in public estimation. For many years – and more so now – most journalists have been willing to publish the unsupported claims of their political favorites, as if they were indisputably factual.
A current example goes something like this. “The White House reported today that two million jobs have been saved in the last five months as a result of the 2010 stimulus package.” With no analysis or further investigation, this kind of claim is meaningless, and may be nonsense. James Kilpatrick was a reporter who liked to find out for himself if such press releases were truth or baloney.
In the 1990s, Marc Hermon, a researcher for People of the American Way (PFAW - an organization that opposes religious influence in public life) issued annual reports on “Attacks on Freedom to Learn,” which purported to provide “evidence of censorship . . . by the religious right.” Year by year the reports grew more ominous, as Hermon’s statistics portrayed an escalating trend of more and more censorship. The media, with one notable exception, never checked the accuracy of the reports. They simply published what they were told as fact.
In October 1996 Hermon came clean. Writing in Harpers, “The Book-Banning Racket,” he confessed that he had been making it all up. He manipulated reporters because “A worsening trend gets ink.” Regarding the one reporter who questioned his spiraling numbers, Hermon said, “We just lied to him until he went away.” (Hermon also frankly acknowledged that “The annual Most Challenged Book in America elicited fewer than ten complaints” among the nation’s 80,000 public schools.)
That one lone skeptical journalist was James Kilpatrick, and he didn’t exactly go away. In his September 15, 1992 column, “Liberal Claims of Censorship Are Groundless,” he delved into the actual data in the PFAW publication. Examples of “censorship” included situations when parental objections to a particular book resulted in the child being allowed – GIVEN THE FREEDOM -- to do an alternate assignment. Other cases of “violations of freedom to learn” occurred when a parent’s objections caused a school to move a book from the fifth grade shelf to the sixth grade shelf or from the elementary library to the middle school library.
In pithy, sardonic style, Kilpatrick informed his readers of the continuing hoax.
Let us talk about censorship in public schools, and let us begin with certain assumptions.
Kilpatrick recognized that religious citizens – in fact all citizens – have a right not to be falsely accused or lied about. He felt morally compelled to expose how victims are eagerly betrayed by a compliant media apparatus, anxious to serve and please a hostile, biased, anti-Christian organization. For that kind of courage and integrity, he deserved our gratitude, whether we’re religious or not.
Experience has demonstrated that much news media cannot be trusted. The tradition of reporting facts has deteriorated. Numerous studies reveal biases in network news programs and many metropolitan daily newspapers. When our main regional newspaper changed editors a few years ago, the new editor soon abolished the weekly religion page. Announcements of same-sex “weddings” began to appear, even though our state does not recognize such couples. Clearly, the new regime intended to promote its own political agenda not only in opinion pages but throughout.
As thinking human beings we have a responsibility to seek truth and expose lies. Wisdom requires vigilant commitment to getting the true picture. “Wisdom,” as described in the Bible, “will save you from evil people, from those whose speech is corrupt.” Like James Kilpatrick, each of us needs to recognize propaganda and check it out for accuracy. Otherwise, we become pawns of those who want to mislead, manipulate, and manage us for their malicious purposes.
Gary Hardaway, a regular contributor to the Amy Internet Syndicate, directs Summit School of Ministry in Bellingham, WA.
"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; email@example.com
Request this article:
To instantly receive a plain text copy of this article by email, enter your publication title, city and state, and email address, then retype the article number (shown in bold below). Then click the "Send It" button once.
Fields marked (*) are required
back to top