Salon with Paul GladerTwenty-four attendees gathered on Tuesday night to hear from Paul Glader at Christian Union New York’s latest salon. Glader, Associate Professor of Journalism, Media and Entrepreneurship at The King's College, spoke on God and the Newsroom, highlighting both the current tensions between the media and religion and the potential that exists for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Glader began with a quote from an unknown source that sums up of one of the central media issues of our time: “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on.” Exaggerated headlines, twisted truths and “fake news” are making our media an increasingly potent weapon for stirring up strife and polarization, while at the same time making it increasingly untrusted and disbelieved by many in society.
Moreover, Glader believes media bias is only set to increase. As local news outlets shut down throughout America, national news companies in coastal cities are thriving, yet their content is becoming increasingly representative of an ever-narrowing segment of society. The results of this? Pointing to a 2016 study, Glader stated that “75% of Americans agree that you can’t believe much of what you read in the mainstream media.” With troubling statistics like these, Glader believes the surface level battles that we see on Twitter point to the much larger problem of people’s waning trust in institutions in America.
Yet despite fake news, media bias, and the often antagonistic stance of the media towards religion, Glader believes a strong relationship between journalism and religion is possible. Moreover, he thinks that such a relationship would be mutually beneficial, and a blessing our nation. “The media often doesn’t understand religious people; religious people are often skeptical of the press,” says Glader, yet they have much in common: they both believe in and value objective truth, religious freedom and freedom of speech are twins, and the Bible itself can be considered a wonderful piece of journalism to which we are forever indebted.
In Glader’s view, the main way this relationship can form will be if Christian’s stop considering journalism to be a “dirty industry” and instead get themselves involved in it. Glader was the first Christian to join the college newspaper, but once he became an editor he found many other Christians soon joined the team. If Christians get involved and become leaders in the media industry, we could see the culture of the industry changed, objective truth restored, and trust re-established.
Please pray with us for God to develop Christian leaders in some of the nation’s foremost media outlets, and to establish and strengthen networks of Christians within the many branches of the media industry.