SPEAKING TRUTH TO MEDIA

A couple of nights ago a friend emailed me one of these mass-forward emails alerting the readers of bias in the media against Christians. While that topic, sadly, doesn’t surprise or shock me at all anymore, it does infuriate me. The email said the following:

On the "Today Show", Matt Lauer interviewed one of the wives of one of the former Navy Seals killed along with the US ambassador in Libya. He asked, "What she would say to her children about their dad and how she would want them to remember him."

Her answer, and I quote, "His love for Christ", and then continued on with a few other things. Throughout the day and on MSN homepage, replaying the story they have edited the "Love of Christ" part out. Why? Because using the word Christ might offend someone! Well, I am a Christian and I am offended! I'm offended that they would edit it out. Offended that we as Christians are asked to tread lightly so as not to offend someone of another religion. I think anyone who missed the original broadcast that morning should know what NBC has done.
 
THIS IS PROOF OF HOW BIASED NBC IS. This man loved his country and loved his God and gave his life for both, just as Christ gave His life for him

When I noticed that the media unit being accused this time was NBC it really bothered me for two reasons. First my Uncle Gary, who died very suddenly at the age of 46 a few years ago, used to be one of the Producers of that show. And secondly, a parishioner from a parish that I served at who works for NBC is a faithful Catholic at Mass every week with his family.

Before I "forwarded it to everyone on my email list" to express how "ashamed" I was by this act, I decided to ask this parishioner about it. He very quickly and happily looked into it for me and demonstrated that the email was not accurate. On the NBC website, they had the full, unedited seven minute Lauer interview with the widow which includes her comments about God and her husband’s faith. There was an NBC Nightly News report from correspondent Jim Miklasweski that includes a very brief excerpt (less than 10 seconds) from the original interview that morning (but there was nothing that edited or altered anything about her husband’s faith.) And a text version of the story that was written off of the Lauer interview, (which my friend very helpfully copied and pasted and highlighted for me) showed that they did not take any references to God or her husband’s love for Christ out of the interview.

I was somewhat embarrassed that I even forwarded this to my friend, and thought for his taking his time and effort, the least I could do was share it as a blog post.

It’s true there are way too many lukewarm Catholic-Christians who allow people to belittle, mock and denigrate our faith. But the way to get those lukewarm people passionate isn’t in hysterics or maligning "the Media" as the source of all evil. We have to share our faith, in being people of Faith, Hope and Love. By being Christ-like in all that we say and all that we do - (including in Cyber-space)

Because as Pope Francis said last week in his first Encyclical Letter (which is basically a teaching on faith) entitled "The Light of Faith" "We need knowledge, we need truth, because without these we cannot stand firm, we cannot move forward. Faith without truth does not save, it does not provide a sure footing." (No. 24).

May we always stand up for the truth, defend our faith – but be accurate when we do so, lest we unfairly malign and undue whatever good we intended to do with that click of the "Send" to our email lists.

4 comments:

Shen an Calhar said...

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/vaughn.asp - - - The Navy Seal mentioned in the article died in Afghanistan, not Libya - and the comments to Christ and God were not edited out on NBC or MSN. This is an old story that went around years ago on social media and it appears to still be going around.

Fr. Jim Chern said...

Shen - if you read the entire passage up there, I made that exact point that NBC didn't edit the comments. In fact, that's the whole point of this post

Kathleen diGregorio said...

Thank you, Father for this excellent article on your blog. Just this morning 3-29-17, I saw the same copy and paste post on Facebook from a lovely Christian woman and I replied that the story was false, sited the references via Google and said I believe it is very valuble as believers to not pass on inflamatory stories without verification. I don't know Matt Lauer but he deserves not to have his reputation tarnished. My pastor Dr. Rick Warren has had many false stories repeated about him, he is a good and faith servant of God. Take care, Father and God Bless and keep you in His Tender Care. Kathleen

Carin said...

Just wanted to say that in looking up the facts on the FB post that is currently (and unfortunately) circulating, I found this post and have shared it with people I know who have posted that lie as a really good reminder of how important it is to seek the truth, or at least try to when something like this comes along. It also led me to read several of your other posts and I enjoyed them and how they made me think. I teach HS and it seems like you are doing a great job relating your messages to things they are familiar with. Thanks!