The Fourth Estate, more commonly known as the press, has traditionally been viewed as necessary not only to report the news but to keep tabs on political leaders. The answer in response to the question, Why is a free and open press important to a democracy?:
A free and open press ensures that the government represents its people. Since the press is free to tell the truth about the government the government can be held accountable by its citizens. It prevents actions of government propaganda not unlike the NAZIs of WW2 or current day North Korea. It puts the government in the eye of the normal man. They are not an untouchable entity that we have no control over.
It is not that the press has ever been unbiased but that in the past the press was populated by journalists, reporters and researchers who were more concerned about getting to the facts of an issue than promoting their particular worldview or political bias. Until a few decades ago most of them were politically neutral in order to achieve maximum credibility. But things change. Since around the 1930’s Progressives (predominately Socialists) and liberals have dominated the universities and institutions of higher learning. You know, the places that train the educators, politicians as well as journalists and other members of the press. In the 1970s, the Fourth Estate began making a noticeable change toward being more overtly pro-Progressivism. Their disdain for conservatives became more pronounced in the 1980s and by the turn of the century the Fourth Estate had become the Fifth Column. As Wikipedia points out:
A Fifth Column is a group of people who undermine a larger group, such as a nation or a besieged city, from within. The activities of a Fifth Column can be overt or clandestine.
This fairly well describes the actions and functions of the current main stream press. In addition, with the advent and growing popularity of conservative talk radio and television news, there seems to be a concerted effort to protect Progressives and progressive causes by covering up or even trying to spin something that was an out and out lie into being only a misstatement. Like the New York Times: Obama Simply Misspoke About Keeping Your Plan, or Something. For the Fifth Column, protecting those of the same ideology trumps getting at and exposing the facts. The harm to the nation and its citizens recedes into the background as long as the policies of Progressives are implemented and protected. It is the task of the Fifth Column to undermine the larger group of citizens to help bring them under control of the Federal Government.
Is this done from evil motives? I would say for the most part, no. I believe many are striving to bring about a man made Utopia and, like most humans, they tend to congregate with others who hold their same worldview and vision. So, they tend to protect “their own” and work hard at making those in opposition look as bad, backward and evil as possible in order to persuade the average news consumer to believe them. Frankly, it is easy for me to write something about the evils of a press that has abandoned its correct role as the Fourth Estate. Many conservatives would rally around and join the chorus of pointing out the evils of the “liberal press.” We are the “white hats” and obviously, they are wearing the “Black Hats.”
In reality, conservatives and Evangelicals are often quick to pounce on glaring inaccuracies on the part of the Fifth Column but tend to turn a blind eye to the damage and harm brought on by false teachers and bad characters within the church. Focus on the Family or Mike Huckabee take a no holds barred approach to publicly excoriating liberal politicians, liberal press and the lies and harm which is so often covered up on their side but refuse to publicly warn about Bill Gothard or the Word Faith teachers. In his recent blog post Let’s Not Bite and Devour One Another, Dr. Michael Brown claims it is unbiblical to call someone a false prophet if they are a believer who claims to be a prophet and prophesies falsely. He writes:
I refuse to call a brother or sister in the Lord a false prophet or a false teacher, even if they prophesy falsely (in which case they need correction and are falsely called a prophet) and even if they teach something false (does anyone dare claim to have perfect doctrine on all points)?
Sadly, Brown only gives a partial definition of a false prophet/false teacher upon which he builds his case and ignores the great amount of material about false teachers and false prophets operating within the family of faith in both the Old and New Testaments. When Benny Hinn stood before his congregation and told them that God told him there were 9 in the godhead or that God told him that God was going to kill all of the homosexuals in the 1990s by consuming them with fire, how is that to be ignored and covered up?
Years ago, when MCOI began looking into the teachings of Bill Gothard we were confronted with a crisis issue for this ministry. We had to answer a big question. We didn’t want to deal with this issue because it was a popular teacher in the church. Our question though was, “If we don’t have the integrity to address false teachers and teachings within the church don’t we give up the right to address false teachers and teachings outside the church?” I really didn’t like the answer to that question as it seems like it will relegate us to the fringe of the church.
I am not saying that we should not publicly critique Progressives, liberals and the Fifth Column media, we should. We should also have the integrity at the upper levels, the public faces of the faith in also addressing bad actors within the church. For those more concerned about ratings and donor base that will not likely happen.