Eight Dimensions of Truth & Journalism
We align ourselves, as journalists who uphold biblical values, with a discerning justice that demands truth. In turn, it assumes that there are standards of right and wrong. Our goal is to strive for the precept of Psalm 106:3, “Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.” Maybe this could both a blessing, a challenge and a promise for us as journalists?
3. DOUBLE AND SHIFTING STANDARDS
The postmodern world goes one step further and says that standards of truth and values (if there are any) shift to whatever seems appropriate for the occasion. And what may be right for you isn’t necessarily right for me. “Your truth is your truth; my truth is my truth.”
The problem is: This is a double standard. It’s all a matter of perspective, of interpretation. If words about truth are simply constructions, then they can be churned and reinterpreted ad infinitum. If they can be constructed, they can also be “deconstructed.” An interpretation today may differ from an interpretation given tomorrow.
But “such apparent inconsistencies don’t bother the postmodern mind because words themselves have ceased to have any fixed meaning.” When this combines with political correctness, double standards of journalism emerge that exert heavy pressure on reporters, who are committed to consistent standards of truth.
As Christians who are journalists, we say that to be credible, the truth must be consistent, and believable. Many people despite the fuzzy parameters of postmodern values, are quick to spot inconsistencies and contradictions – in others.
We need to ask ourselves about our work: Does it have the ring of reality? Will our readers find the people we write about “believable” — real characters, warts and all?
Do we apply the same brush of consistency, the same standards of scrutiny, to those we personally agree with as those with whom we may significantly disagree? Are we as fair to our villains as we are to our heroes? As hard on our heroes as our villains? That’s the way the Bible does it. No papier mache saints. David committed adultery and promoted murder by sending the innocent Hittite into the front lines of battle just so he would be killed. Yet God called David a man after his own heart.
Take Abraham. Abraham’s life was a mixture of faith and faithlessness. Scripture doesn’t gloss over his moments of wavering or the superstition mixed in with his faith. So the people of the Bible are believable–they are “just like us.”