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Attention Fox News: The truth will set you free

Dominion lawsuit shows the importance of truth over tribe


Fox News headquarters in New York iStock

Attention Fox News: The truth will set you free

The 2020 election was not stolen. Believing it was stolen requires marshaling evidence to sustain such a claim. But time and time again, Trump-appointed judges dismissed lawsuits that alleged election tampering. Even President Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, denies the election was stolen.

Despite evidence never being produced to vindicate the claim of a stolen election, we now know that popular hosts on FOX News knowingly let unsubstantiated claims go unchallenged by guests, despite private messages that expressed their doubts about the election being stolen. While privately conceding among themselves that the election was not stolen, the hosts would go on air and raise the ire and indignation of Fox viewers at the prospect of a stolen election. The goal was clear: To placate the network’s base of viewers in hopes of not losing its market share to other conservative competitors.

FOX News owner Rupert Murdoch has now acknowledged under oath that the network’s hosts endorsed narratives that network executives believed were false as FOX faces a $1.6 billion lawsuit from Dominion, the company that oversees voting systems used in elections.

Perpetuating a lie that would undermine our democracy, stoke mistrust, and violently jeopardize government continuity as it did on Jan. 6, 2021, is nothing short of a scandal, the likes of which cannot be dismissed. To knowingly participate in falsehood for fear of an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth from being known is to completely nullify the practice of journalism, which is to report the truth—not twist the truth to serve the interests of a particular tribe or assuage its unrequited hopes.

The severity of this scandal should concern Christians on at least two levels.

First, democracy hinges upon the availability and priority of the truth and truthful investigation as necessary pillars for self-government. Without the truth, we are but mere subjects to interests that appease our preferences or even lie to us. Elections require trust in their administration for the project of democracy to work as designed. But underneath the elections are underlying realities central to democracy. Democracy requires the truth for its deliberations to proceed with integrity.

Christians should renounce such a subversion of truth, not adopt it when situations we find displeasing tempt us to obscure the truth and pervert justice.

Without access to the truth and without truth at the forefront of our deliberations about what is necessary for the prospering of our nation, political communities are robbed of the very foundation that makes the operation of government intelligible—the faithful execution of just order. When God ordained the institution of government in Romans 13, central to its calling is the propagation of the truth as a reflection of God’s own nature (2 Samuel 8:15; Psalm 72; Isaiah 32:1).

While mainstream journalism’s credibility deserves historic levels of distrust owing to its own complicity in peddling preferred narratives, that does not justify a purportedly “conservative” institution doing the same. Instead, we should recognize the communication of intentional falsehood for what it is—a subversion of sound order.

But even more central to the concern of Christians about these events is the priority of Christianity as a worldview of truth. The truth is embedded in the very essence of Christianity’s claims. So, we do not look on in disappointment at what FOX pundits did merely because we are Americans upset at the shock of actions like these, but because we are Christians. All throughout Scripture, believers are told to be unwaveringly committed to the truth. Bearing false witness is a sin (Exodus. 20:16). We are to “put away falsehood” and “speak the truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). We are fundamentally people who pursue the truth (Philippians 4:8). Brothers and sisters, we cannot be people who continue to spread falsehood about elections merely because of partiality over preferred outcomes (Proverbs 28:21).

Declaring something to be without it being so is a lie, perhaps underwritten by postmodernism’s denial of objective truth. Christians should renounce such a subversion of truth, not adopt it when situations we find displeasing tempt us to obscure the truth and pervert justice.

Jesus tells us that the “truth will set you free.” Jesus, of course, meant this in the context of declaring Himself to be that very truth. Salvation is found in Him alone. But the principle still applies to the situation at hand: Living by the truth, though it may not be convenient, will always be a source of freedom. As we understand the truth, there is no greater privilege or calling than to live freely in response to it (Psalm 15:2-3).

Many will argue that the mainstream media has been proven wrong about a host of matters (from the origin of COVID to the effectiveness of natural immunity), and they will be right. But Christians must seek the truth and investigate facts.

Acknowledging the truth is not surrendering to “the Regime” nor is it to exonerate the abysmal state of mainstream media’s own deserved scorn and responsibility in helping tear our nation apart. It is, however, to acknowledge that reality and fact are not bendable according to human will, whether at the discretion of the political left or the political right.


Andrew T. Walker

Andrew is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.


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