It was ‘fake news’ but it sounded so real!
On Halloween night in 1938, millions of Americans were getting their Sunday evening entertainment sitting in front of their radios. Many were tuned to the CBS radio network’s “Mercury Theatre on the Air”, a one hour radio drama.
Those who hadn’t heard the disclaimer at the beginning of the program reminding them that this was a work of fiction found the musical selection interrupted with numerous panicked reports of an invasion by Martians. As the aliens landed and began spreading poisonous gas … killing more and more people … panic began spreading across the country.
So real were the sound effects and the panic of the reporters ‘on scene’ that it was easy to assume our planet had been invaded. We were more naïve and less sophisticated back then than we are today.
Or are we actually more discerning today about what we hear as news?
This is not about politics, although it could be. It could also be about weather prognostication or who will win next year’s Super Bowl. This is about making sure of our sources before we allow our hearts to be affected by what we are hearing.
Getting our news by ‘consensus’ is never a good idea. You can get a clue that what you’re getting may be conjecture or opinion by the phrases: “it’s being reported that … “ or “many are saying” … or “it appears that …”
Somebody has their moistened finger in the air to see which way things seem to be going. It’s hardly scientific at this point. It can be more fear-producing than educational to us.
When it comes to observations about what’s going on around us, the Apostle Paul cautioned us to “ …fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” II Corinthians 4:18 NIV
If we fail to make the distinction between the eternal and the temporary we discount God’s hand in the affairs going on around us. God’s plans stand firm. If He has foretold something, even though obscure at the moment … it will happen!
So when I look around in fear and the newsmakers are all telling me to “be afraid; be very afraid,” I need to repeat David’s words: “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Psalm 56:11 KJV