In history class, we learned about the Spanish-American War and the role of so-called “yellow journalism” in ultimately pushing for America’s involvement in the Cuban conflict. Two competing newspapers, one owned by William Randolph Hearst and the other by Joseph Pulitzer II, published ever-increasing sensationalized stories in an effort to gain more subscribers. When Hearst’s two highest-paid reporters stationed in Cuba sent him a telegram saying that there was not much action, he replied with his now-famous quote:
You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.
Today’s major news corporations like to think that they hold themselves to a higher standard of objectivity when reporting the news. CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, ABC News and others daily report the news from what they believe is an objective point of view.
But they don’t. Consider Matthew 12:
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
Or in the case of journalists, the pen writes. That is why it is impossible to objectively report only the facts without somehow slanting the article. The language writers choose dictates whether the story will have a positive or a negative feel.
But that’s not the only way news isn’t objective. Lots of newsworthy events happen all over the country today that aren’t reported. With limited time on the air, on the page, or space on the webpage, editors have to decide whether or not to publish a story based on what they (and their owners) consider to be of interest to the public.
In the case of presidential politics, the major news outlets define who is a front-runner and who is not simply by who they chose to report on or write about. The news media follows around all of the candidates, so there is no shortage of film. It doesn’t help that one of the candidates owns several media outlets…of course he’s the one who’s going to get the most coverage! Even in the debates, candidates are not given equal time to speak — Huckabee had a mere 11 minutes to Romney’s 22 at the last debate. But when Huckabee speaks, we are treated to much, much wisdom.
As Deacon Keith Fournier at Catholic.org writes, let Huckabee speak! After all,
For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Don’t be fooled or satisfied by the mainstream media. It may just be that like David, Huckabee has some stones in his pocket. In fact, God often uses the underdog or the one whose outward appearance is weak to accomplish his purposes.
Remember the story of Gideon? The Israelites had been doing evil, and a foreign nation overran them and took over their lands. They were forced to camp out in caves and other hiding places, and they cried to God to help them. Rather than send in a mighty warrior, God did the unexpected:
From Judges 6:
14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “But Lord , [a] ” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
God chose not only a man from the weakest clan (or party??), but he chose the one who was the least in his family. The story continues in Judges 7 as Gideon gathers his thirty-two thousand men army together for battle:
2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, 3 announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
Okay, so now Gideon has ten thousand available to fight against a nation packed in so tightly on their lands that their camels were more numerous than grains of sand on the seashore. How’s that? God still wasn’t satisfied with the size of his army:
4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.”
All right! Now Gideon has 300 men to fight a city full of people. It could work, right? What happened next is even more unexpected. God tells Gideon to sneak down to the camp and listen to what was being said. So he did this and overheard enemy soldiers discussing a dream one of them had had:
I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
So there goes Gideon rushing back to his camp. He worshiped God and divided his 300 men into three companies. Then he led them in a very….unconventional way. No weapons at all…just glass jars and torches:
17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ”
19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.
22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
The above account is how the Bible reports on these events. If a reporter from the Goliath News Media filed a story on the same events, it might read something like this:
Today the Israelites picked Gideon, a very unlikely leader, who systematically pared down the military to less than a tenth of its original force. In the dead of night he and his men surrounded the Midianite camp armed with nothing but trumpets, torches, and glass. This unusual tactic caused confusion among the Midianites, who began shooting each other in their panic. The remaining Midianites beat a hasty retreat. In the meantime, thousands of former military soldiers are without jobs and healthcare.
The same events are spun with very different connotations. So be wary of what you read in the newspaper, see on television, or watch on the internet.
With David and Goliath and Gideon and the Midianites, the Lord chose unconventional, unexpected men to perform amazing deeds. Can the Lord use unconventional and unexpected means to place Huckabee ahead of the pack? Will he send a loaf of barley barreling into the Goliath News Media, grabbing Huckabee the spotlight he needs to win? If He does so, it will go to show us again that the battle is the Lord’s…and that we are victorious not by our own strength, but by His power and might.
As I write this blog tonight, I am like a loaf of barley smacking into the Midianites’ cyberspace. If you’ve stumbled here looking for information about the candidates, I am so glad you are here. Please go to Huckabee’s website and find out for yourself where he stands on the issues. If reading this blog causes you to decide to support Huckabee (or someone else, for that matter!), leave a comment! If you’d like more information, leave a comment and I will do what I can to find the answer.