Carl Trueman: I thought of this when I saw the footage of Jimmy Kimmel tearing up on his late night chat show as he told the audience of the shooting of Cecil the Lion. I wonder - did Kimmel tear up when he saw the video of the Planned Parenthood doctor talking about crushing infants as so many organ factories?
Chapter 3 of Carl Trueman’s Republocrat focuses on American conservative Christians’ view of the media—with Fox news as the focus.
Though the chapter (The Not So Fantastic Mr. Fox) seemed shorter, it’s length is actually the just-shy-of-twenty-pages standard for chapters in this book. Perhaps the illusion of shortness is due to my skimming several pages when it became clear they held nothing of interest (the part arguing against the virtuousness of Fox Broadcasting Company and Mr. Murdoch; since I never thought they were especially virtuous, and don’t know anyone who does, I didn’t care).
But Trueman does make some solid points in the chapter. We’ll consider those before I return to the problems.
Fox News is indeed biased, as the chapter asserts—depending on how you define bias. Trueman observes, “I like to argue in class that in the writing of history, no one can be neutral” (p. 42). From there, he distinguishes (though doesn’t really differentiate) between bias and objectivity. But he is undoubtedly right that there’s never been a human being who looks at events and ideas with some kind of tabula rasa.
Full disclosure: since our family doesn’t value cable or satellite programming enough to pay the monthly fee, my exposure to Fox News has usually been in small bits in auto-repair shop lobbies, video clips on the Internet and the odd occasion where the cable channel takes over local broadcast news for a period.
This post continues my chapter-by-chapter review of Republocrat, by Carl Trueman (Part 1, Part 2). The chapter in focus here is the second, entitled The Slipperiness of Secularization. It’s thesis is that the US may seem to be less secularized than Britain, but probably isn’t. The reason is that here in the US, the church itself has become secularized in many ways. Hence, even though church attendance and religious language are far more common here than in the UK, these do not reflect genuine Christian faith and practice. To put it another way, Britain only seems more secular because it is more authentic about its unbelief rather than dressing it up like we do here.
After brief introductory paragraphs, Trueman develops the chapter under these headings: