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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Tuesday, March 12 2002

Using the news

Everyone does it. Use the news, that is, by which I mean one of the most popular "uses" of the news is to promote another, often hidden, agenda through its presentation. Since I started using the day's world and national news very self-consciously on my new Christian News & Media Portal web site to help Christians and would-be Christians "interpret the world" from the basis of biblical and church presuppositions, and in the course of that hoping to also be teaching those presuppositions and a way to think, I've become aware to a greater extent how widespread the practice is. In fact, it would be naive to contend that there's a single "news medium" out there that doesn't have an ulterior motive or complex combination of such motives.

While reading a story on Time magazine's site yesterday, I saw a promotional ad for archives of the magazine that refers to "Time's unique perspective on historical events." If Time is objective, how can its perspective be "unique"? It can't, which supports my master's thesis in journalism*, which contended that there's no such thing as "objectivity" in reporting, so therefore we should be more honest about our presuppositions and stop pretending objectivity or neutrality. Time is admitting here that it is using the news in a way very similar to my own, though they'd probably (if you could induce them to admit it and I bet you couldn't) call it an "AOLTime-Warner" perspective on the world rather than a Christian one.

Some of my favorite uses of the news are for comedic purposes. My second favorite aspect of the comedy of the Tonight Show is Jay Leno's summarizing of the latest news in his nightly monologues. I like his approach to that slightly better than David Letterman's treatment of the same material, because Letterman strikes me as a smidgen more liberal (meaning "more commtted to an 'anything goes' philosophy of life") and also more likely to trivialize things, though all comedy trivializes serious things, almost part of the definition of the comedic art.

My favorite aspect of Leno's show is close to the second one: the Monday night Headlines segment, which isn't original to him (I believe Reader's Digest was running some of the same absurd-type headlines a half century ago) in which he throws the light of comedy on such profound titles as "Overeating found to contribute to obesity." As a headline writer par excellence (if I may say so myself), I find these faux pas the most hilarious type of humor. In the same vein, I find the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live the most compelling reason to be up to 12:20 Sunday morning, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart the most original show on Comedy Central.

More to come....

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Published as The Reformation of Journalism, Craig Press 1972,

Words to live by

If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.

Borrow money from pessimists—they don't expect it back.

—Steven Wright
Sent by Trudy Myers

Death to the world

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God's just sentence against him.

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find
life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life?

Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on
to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this. Let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power.

—Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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