The news is certainly bad. We all consume news in different ways and particular episodes make their impressions on us.
An example that struck me, from the Daily Telegraph 19 July: “Hamas militants sent a donkey laden with explosives on a suicide mission in one of the most unconventional tactics yet seen in the fighting in Gaza, the Israeli army has said. Troops said they were forced to open fire on the animal – blowing it up – as it approached their position in the southern city of Rafah, near the Egyptian border.”
The news is filled with the horrors of Syria, Iraq, and Gaza. The unimaginable human suffering affecting the lives of so many people highlights the presence of evil in the world, and anyone who would deny the devil is at work must be a madman. The devil is particularly clever in the media: we have heard virtually nothing of the fate of thousands of peaceful Christians in Iraq, while all the attention goes on the plight of the people of Gaza whose extremist Hamas leaders have once again brought calamity upon them.
The internet now serves as a place where we can select our own sources of news: Twitter, blogs and other sources we have learned to trust. Sadly, I no longer trust the BBC for unbiased reporting and analysis and I am deliberately reducing my consumption of daily news from once-trusted “Auntie Beeb”. It is often now merely a mouthpiece for a pro-Islamic world-view that belittles and despises Christianity to the point where a complete extermination of the ancient Iraqi Christian community can disappear behind a news story about the Queen’s racehorse; or the political and military complexities of the Gaza situation become merely an excuse to bash Israel and to present blatant pro-Hamas propaganda.
From my perspective here, catching up on fence repairs in a quiet field with four donkeys in Spain, I cannot ignore the huge suffering that is taking place in the Middle East. You cannot turn your back on such events, even when there is nothing to be done about them from where you are. But I am increasingly turning off the BBC – for it has failed in its duty – and I am listening to other voices. In these times, we can use the internet to get our news straight from the donkey’s mouth. We can find the news that the BBC buries under the Queen’s racehorse.