The press is of vital importance to Western civilization. It is a powerful tool because of its ability to bring attention to any situation. Thomas Jefferson said, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
Indeed, it is.
Now that the press in America is doing a bit of soul searching due to its many failures this campaign season, I hope their introspection is not limited to political coverage.
The underreporting of the Christian genocide around the world is completely unacceptable. Part of being a reporter is having integrity and commitment to the truth. Knowing and failing to report that truth is simply a dereliction of duty.
In the span of four months in 1994, 80% of the population Rwanda had been murdered. This genocide took the lives of almost two million Rwandan Tutsi. Alan J. Kuperman, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, writes about the failure of the media in reporting the genocide in Rwanda in his book, The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. He writes:
In the wake of Rwanda’s tragedy, the media harshly criticized the United Nations and its Western members for not immediately recognizing the killing campaign and reacting to prevent it. […] But the media must share the blame for failing to provide prompt notice of the genocide. In obscure parts of the world, where Western governments do not invest significant intelligence assets, the news business is relied upon to serve as a surrogate early-warning system. In Rwanda, it did not fulfill this role.
There you have it; awareness could have prevented the deaths of many in Rwanda.
But Kuperman explains that major news outlets underreported and underestimated the deaths of millions. There must be lessons learned from this terrible experience. The media must do better, realizing the power it has to bring attention to this type of situation.
Today, genocide is happening while, again, the media is mostly silent. Christians and other minority groups are being targeted by ISIS.
In 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. Today, Christians number less than 300,000. In Syria, the Christian population was 1.25 million in 2011. It is currently hovering at just 500,000.
Christians and other minority groups are being slaughtered in ISIS-controlled territories. Entire communities that have resided in these places for thousands of years are being massacred, while much of the media is silent — and, thus, complicit.
But there is still time. Will the media take their calling seriously, or will they make the same, willful mistakes they made with Rwanda?
The answer is important, because lives are at stake.
The media has a responsibility to report the facts and draw attention to important issues in our world today. Suppressing information about the persecution and outright slaughter of Christians and other minorities in ISIS-controlled territory is, at the very least, grossly irresponsible.
The media can help influence public policy simply by reporting the truth.
Suppressing the truth gives rise to lies and misinformation. So what we’re seeing here is a battle between good and evil — truth and untruth. So it makes sense, as Christians, to keep journalists in our prayers. They bear a great responsibility. Pray that God impacts this industry as a whole in a manner that will change the way news is reported. It is urgently needed.
Crystal Macias is an alumna of Concerned Women for America’s Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program. To learn more about the Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program, click here.