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'Yellow Journalism' Goes Deepest Blue to Vilify Evangelicals as Mass Murderers

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Kim Strassel has graced the Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages for years during which time she has produced more than a few superbly crafted, tightly argued deconstructions of contemporary politics.

But one of her all-time best may well be the recent piece suggesting that what was once referred to as “Yellow Journalism” has, like a terrible virus, mutated into something far more dangerous that she labeled “Blue Journalism.”

Strassel’s ire was sparked by recent “news” stories across the Mainstream Media (MSM) portraying Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) as a chronic spreader of “disinformation” and “conspiracy theories,” particularly in connection with the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Typical was this headline in the New York Times news section: “Assaulting the Truth, Ron Johnson Helps Erode Confidence in Government.” Now that Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress, any criticism of government is tantamount to insurrection.

Strassel is absolutely on target in pointing to the character assaults put forth by the MSM to redefine Johnson from the outspoken conservative with firmly held beliefs about holding government accountable that he is to a neo-criminal co-conspirator with “White Supremacists” and other disreputable elements of the Far Right.

As disgusting as the Johnson libels are, I suggest an even more unbelievably dishonest example is found in the attempt by the New York Times and the Washington Post to persuade readers that Atlanta mass-murderer Robert Aaron Long killed 8 people in three massage parlors because of his evangelical Christianity, which was at the heart of his claim to suffer from “sexual addiction.”

The Times’ Ruth Graham — who covered religion for Slate before joining the old grey lady — opens her story by quoting “former evangelical” Brad Oshni, professor of religious studies at Skidmore College, saying:

“The evangelical culture he was raised in, he said, ‘teaches women to hate their bodies, as the source of temptation, and it teaches men to hate their minds, which lead them into lust and sexual immorality.’”

It is doubtful that a more stereotypical description of the evangelical understanding of what the Bible teaches about human sexuality could be written, but Graham offers it uncritically because it capsulizes everything that follows in her “reporting.”

The Post’s Jonathan Krohn and Sarah Pulliam Bailey did a similar number on evangelical Christianity — thus illustrating rather effectively the lack of critical thinking and historical context so characteristic of the MSM these days — by noting:

“However, several experts have said this week that Long’s ties to evangelicalism shine a light into a subculture called ‘purity culture,’ a belief among some evangelicals that promotes the idea that any sexual desire outside of marriage is lustful, and therefore sinful. Some evangelicals are taught from a young age to control their sexual urges and if they cannot, they are sometimes labeled sex addicts or porn addicts.”

It’s also impossible to imagine a more ill-informed caricature of the traditional Christian understanding of Biblical sexuality among Catholics and Protestants than the preceding graph from Krohn and Bailey, except perhaps that of the Times’ Graham above.

Focus on the Family President Jim Daly succinctly captured the fundamental falsehood presented as truth by these two blatant propaganda pieces masquerading as news stories:

“Implied and insinuated in both instances is that the expectation to refrain from sexual intimacy until marriage somehow imposed a damaging and dangerous burden on Mr. Long.  In other words, if he had not been so restrained and guilt-ridden, he wouldn’t have killed eight people in a deranged act of revenge.”

Daly also points out that:

“To be clear, no sane person would do what Mr. Long did, so trying to draw any correlation or motivation between his violent actions and his supposed faith is reckless and irresponsible.

“It’s interesting that when terrorists who profess the Islamic faith act out, there’s always a strong outcry suggesting their rogue actions don’t represent true Islam. But in Mr. Long’s case and others where individuals who profess Christianity attack others, reporters eagerly and enthusiastically try to draw parallels between faith and their fanaticism.”

And he provides the historical context that is so sorely missing in the vast majority of reportage on social issues in this country:

“Social science consistently shows that those in committed, monogamous marriages enjoy the deepest level of sexual satisfaction. It’s those who don’t commit and remain faithful to their spouse who report the highest degree of frustration and relationship failure.

“There was once a millennia-old, cross-cultural understanding that marriage was the lifelong union of a man and a woman. This definition helped protect children born from that union. Indeed, bringing children into this world has historically been understood to be a primary function of marriage. In that sense, marriage, sex and childbearing were linked in the minds of people, and were usually linked in practice.

“And then, in the 1960s, the Sexual Revolution happened. The events that took place during this period helped break the ‘iron triangle’ of marriage, sex, and childbearing, which ushered in monumental changes in our nation’s collective worldview and culture.”

Daly’s concluding observation would be cheered by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. In AP’s 2017 obituary on Hefner, it was noted that during a 1992 interview with the Times, he was asked what was he was most proud of in his career:

“That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction,” Hefner replied.

Speaking as a journalist who has loved the profession for more than three decades, I can assure readers here that, sadly, today’s average MSM reporter or editor won’t have a clue about the real connection that explains why America’s obsessively sexualized culture produces so many Robert Aaron Longs.

Mark Tapscott is an award-winning investigative journalist who covers Congress for The Epoch Times, and is founder and editor of HillFaith, an apologetics ministry sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with congressional aides on Capitol Hill.

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