Jesus-Based Journalism

I came across this article from the Southern Baptist Press entitled "Marvin Olasky: Bible is standard for objectivity in journalism" and thought it was interesting.

All journalists are shaped by their worldviews, and the only way to bring true objectivity to journalism is to be shaped by the worldview of the Bible, Marvin Olasky said at the Baptist Press Excellence in Journalism Banquet in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 7.

* * *

"Only when we take up these biblical lenses can we see things as they really are," Olasky said. "So here's my thesis: the only true objectivity is biblical objectivity."

Journalists frequently make two errors regarding objectivity, he said. Sometimes they claim to be completely objective and not bring any presuppositions to their reporting, Olasky said, noting that such claims are wrong because everyone has presuppositions and a worldview. He said others wrongly bring their presuppositions to bear on a story so much that they fail to report the facts accurately.

The right way to do journalism is to let the Bible teach reporters how to view any event and report on it accordingly, he said.

As a Christian, I understand what he's saying. Certainly, if Christianity is true (which is the presupposition under which we work and the reason we believe), then it follows that Christianity is the true vision of the world. Thus, any viewpoing other than the Christian viewpoint is necessarily distorted in some respect. Of course, living in a non-theocratic pluralistic society, Christians recognize that other people with other points of view are naturally going to become involved in journalism. These other points of view are necessarily going to be non-Christian.

Recognizing that almost every story has a slant or angle that is inserted by the author and editors, the question that needs to be answered is which angle or slant to adopt. Mr. Olansky is suggesting that the Christian angle is the one that should be adopted because it is the one that most closely mirrors reality -- what Dr. Francis Schaeffer called "true truth."

Now, is Mr. Olasky suggesting that these other reporters shouldn't be allowed or permitted to report? Of course not. Nowhere in the article does he say that. Thus, anyone who takes these comments and says that he's suggesting that only Christians can be or should be journalists (as I fully expect will happen) is taking liberties with what Mr. Olasky is saying. It seems to me that he is merely saying that the point of view that is most in tune with reality comes from those holding a Christian worldview. Thus, he is making a recommendation that the Biblically informed worldview is the viewpoint that ought to be used in writing news stories.

Of course, if a magazine (such as Mother Jones) or news source (such as wants to adopt a different, non-Biblical viewpoint for reporting the news, that's fine. However, you have to recognize when reading them that they are coming at the story with a slant or angle that is not Biblical, and hence, not consistent with true truth.


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