Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Reverend Reads the Papers

(The reverend is me. My church is here.)

After one more tedious conversation on an evangelical Internet forum about the anti-Christian leftist slant of the mainstream media, I signed off and, as I do several days per week, trudged down to the university cafeteria to eat a sampling of roast beef, fish, or whatever other mass-produced delicacy the administrators of the residence communion choose to bless us with on a daily basis. As usual, I also purchased a newspaper to peruse the salacious scandals and exciting events which happened yesterday before press time. My newspaper today was the Toronto Star, without argument the farthest left of the major Canadian print media (the Globe & Mail defines the centre, and the National Post is somewhere off to the right). I expected to be besieged by the satanic forces of secular humanism upon turning over simply to the second page, so I thought about spending several hours in prayer in advance, and perhaps reviewing my favourite psalm (Psalm 137:9, perhaps, which is another banner verse from the Rev. Dave's Family Friendly Bible, Uncensored Edition®).

I was not to be disappointed. Turning over the front page (which was on the Toronto municipal election results and therefore of no interest to me), I was greeted with a glaring headline: VOICE OF ARAB WORLD GOES GLOBAL. Oh, dear, the secular humanists have weakened our democracy again by letting in the propaganda of... Al Jazeera? Ah, well. At least it's as balanced as Fox News is. And it was odd to hear it was "going global," since Al-Jazeerah was approved to compete for cable licensing in Canada by the CRTC a year or two ago, and presumably was elsewhere as well. Reading on, it turns out that "going global" actually means that it's developing an English-language channel. How typical of the leftist MSM (which is a peppy acronym for "mainstream media," the secular humanists that hound us Christians) to make such an egotistical assumption.

Turning a few more pages, I reach the section devoted to the ongoing disaster we are reconstructing in Afghanistan, and am greeted by the headline "Taliban regime ousted five years ago." Geez. I'd heard that the print media was falling behind their electronic brethren, but I hadn't realized things had got so bad down in the newsrooms.

Then it's on to the editorial pages, where presumably I will be bombarded by the full force of the secular humanist left, since it no longer has to be shrouded in pretentious journalistic objectivity as it does on the so-called "news" pages. You can imagine my horror, therefore, when I notice that the leading column for the day is by two of Toronto's leading Anglicans, condemning both the federal and provincial governments for their senseless cuts to low-cost housing (most of which is the result of a spat between the two levels of government over fund redistribution disputes, for which the lowest of the poor are bearing most of the pain), at a time when hundreds of people die in Toronto alone because the rest of this supposedly grand nation could not bother to give them shelter and a little food.

The cynical part of me observes that when a downtown Anglican preacher condemns the suffering of the poor, he's probably speaking as much to the interests of his core constituency as is the Baptist preacher in the suburbs when he condemns the suffering of his flock at the hands of the encroaching gay invaders. Or perhaps that's not the cynical part: perhaps the latter simply has the wrong constituency and the wrong interests at heart. Perhaps it should matter more to the church that people suffer needlessly in our ridiculously wealthy country than that some homosexuals (most of whom probably aren't members of the church anyways, since we've driven them out by now) who want government recognition of their relationship. Maybe Christians who are obsessed with the "sanctity of the institution of marriage" should be more concerned about the fact that the secular government seems to hold the keys to that "institution" at all, rather than about whom that government grants it to.

Maybe it also means that this supposed leftist mainstream is neither as anti-Christian nor as misguided as some like to think. The fact that the left is convinced the media has a right-wing bias and the right is convinced that the media has a left-wing bias might mean that the media is actually less biased than either side wants to admit.


Nerdbeard said...

My newspaper today was the Toronto Star, without argument the farthest left of the major Canadian print media...

I wish you HAD provided an argument! My experience is opposite. Certainly, the editorial control that they exsert on their hundreds of local papers (why the hell did we ever allow that?!) leans right, from my point of view.

anti-Christian leftist slant of the mainstream media

If only...

Blaisteach said...

The editorial control that the Star exhibits on hundreds of local papers? The Star doesn't own any local papers, except itself. Of course, it in turn is owned by Torstar, which owns several dozen such newspapers (as well as a minority share in Bell, which owns Globe & Mail, so it's nice to know that our national media aren't colluding in any way). Furthermore, if I recall correctly, most of the papers in Canada are owned by CanWest, whose leading national is the National Post, which is certainly the farthest right of the major Canadian papers.

If you read my post, you may see that I disagree with the belief that the Star, and most other mainstream papers for that matter, are either anti-Christian or leftist. However, I know many conservatives who are convinced they are leftist, and and many conservative Christians who are convinced they are anti-Christian.

As for argument, I suggest you provide me with an alternative. If the Star is not the farthest left of the major newspapers in Canada with a relatively broad distribution outside of their home city, which such paper is the farthest left?

Left and right are degrees, not absolutes. We say the liberals are too the left of the conservatives, but they're also to the right of the socialists. I don't think we have any major national socialist newspapers, though of course I may have missed one.