Lies and Media's Subtle Effects



Here's a bold claim: The only truth we can know for certain is what we see with our own eyes and what God puts on our hearts through prayer and Scripture. Even in those cases, we can be mistaken because of our fallen nature. Truth is a person. He is compelling. He is the seed for our convictions. He is what gives people something to die for. Truth is not what other people say it is. He is the reality in front of us and the word God speaks to us.


If we accept any information beyond that as true, it's because we trust the source of the information. Even then we don't know that what they’re saying is true. We trust that it’s true. We may think we know, and our intrinsic desire for knowledge may compel us to give in to the source's claims, but receiving information does not equate to actually knowing something because the information we received may be false. This essay is not a crash course in epistemology, but it helps to remind each other of what truth really is every now and then. Otherwise we will be swept away by the storm of lies all around us like those regarding COVID-19, which I touch upon below and in many other posts.


The media has a subtle ability to spread misinformation by appealing to our intrinsic desire to know things. Sinister people who want nothing more than to accomplish their own will, even if it’s at the expense of others, have recognized the influence news has on the public and have used it to effectively propagate lies. When a source is so influential that it’s accepted as trustworthy whenever it simply publishes something, there is a great temptation for the liars with power in this world to use that source to spread their lies. And don't expect them to resist that temptation.


People may say "Prove that they're lying." But you can't prove a lie to be a lie because it's a negative, and you cannot prove a negative. A lie is built on lack of truth and you can't prove that something doesn't exist. Every time you try, your opponent will just say you're not looking in the right place, and that quarrel can go on indefinitely until one of you notices that it's futile. A lie simply focuses on a partial truth of something while ignoring the falsehood in it. If someone points out that falsehood, the liars can just continue to ignore it and dwell on the truth of their statement. Many liars have successfully avoided admitting they were lying by simply abandoning the parts of their lie that were proven to be false, while dwelling more and more on the truth of their original statement and claiming that's all they had been saying all along. It takes one to know one, right? We've all done it.


The only way to prove something to be true is to fail to disprove it, like Elijah failed to prevent God from setting his altar ablaze no matter how much he drenched it with water. The truth is indisputable like that. This is why good scientists, for centuries, have depended on the counterintuition built into scientific method, which tests their intuitions and assumptions against truth and reality. Popular media today doesn't do that.


Popular media and politicians will continue to try and grab more power in an attempt to control as much as they can. We the people need to examine our reasons for obeying if we are going to obey. If our conscience tells us it’s wrong to obey, we ought to have the right to obey our conscience instead. A person shouldn’t believe something unless they have a reason to believe it. We shouldn't have to just trust that what the authorities and respected sources are saying is true without knowing why it's true.


What Lies?


With all this talk about lying, it’s necessary to point out some of the specific lies about COVID-19 that the media are propagating. We’ve heard a great deal about people dying from complications due to--or involving--COVID-19, but that could mean so many things. If someone tests positive for the virus, is sent to the hospital, and then dies after a procedure related to the infection, it could be said that he died of complications involving COVID-19, even if he was in stable condition beforehand. This is apparently what happened, sadly, when Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow reportedly died of the virus, for example. LSU Health Shreveport said Letlow died from a heart attack following a procedure related to the infection, but the media said he died of COVID.


Also, a case needs to be made for the suppressed stories surrounding this virus, like when Minnesota State Senator Dr. Scott Jensen shared that hospitals get paid $13,000 when a COVID-19 patient is admitted and $39,000 when they’re placed on a ventilator. Remember what I said about partial truths and how a lie is nothing more than that. The media continues to spread the news about people dying of COVID-19 while turning a blind eye to other details that could shed further light on what’s really going on.


Media’s subtle effects


You’ve probably heard of the expression, “in the loop”, but have you ever thought about what it may actually mean? Let me offer this interpretation: Few people bother really making their own food anymore because they can just go to a store or a restaurant to buy it. In a similar way, few people bother assessing information anymore because they expect the media to do it for them. Without any critical opposition, the mainstream media can report something as true, then it’s fact-checked in a circular system that curates, aggregates, and syndicates its own information to make it look like it’s coming from multiple sources. It’s a constant loop of half-truths that comes from maybe a half dozen big companies, and if a critical rival of the loop gets too popular they're censored or demonetized in some way. The professionals validate their colleagues, and then it trickles down to mainstream and social media, the market, politicians, and the common person has little choice but to be "in the loop" or be labeled a conspiracy theorist.


As Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński of Poland said when the communist authorities threatened the rights of the Church and the faithful, “Non possumus” (We cannot). We cannot go along with it any longer.


We can’t because what we are being told simply is not true. Social and mainstream media are trying to force the common person to live in an alternate reality perpetuated by a false narrative. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the media’s posh news sets and authoritative tones do not automatically depict reality just because they look and sound so official. As much as they’d like to believe the world is their stage, the tech and media giants of our global society do not determine what is true by simply saying it is true. Only God has the power to make something true by his words alone.