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I Walked Away from Fox News

Six months ago I gave up Fox News. I quit, cold turkey.

For me, that was significant. Even though I had long before stopped watching Sean Hannity or Glen Beck, a typical night included at least an hour of watching Bill O’Reilly, Shepard Smith or Bret Baier. And during the election season (which I LOVE!), it was often two or three hours a night. I ate it up. I also flipped the channel over to CNN occasionally, but to be completely honest–it was on the Fox News Channel 80% of the time.

But I didn’t like what it was doing inside me. On November 7th, the morning after the election, I woke up feeling duped. It wasn’t because “my guy” had lost the election. It was because I had been lied to and misled by the so-called experts. I suddenly realized that about 2% of what I watched on these channels was news–and the rest was commentary by professional pundits.

The problem with 24-hour news channels is they have to sensationalize everything in order to get an audience. The outcome of every vote on every issue, we are told, will begin the end of the world. More name-calling happens during the prime-time news shows than on a kindergarten school bus. Every story, every political decision is branded with its’ own logo and orchestral introduction the second it happens. “Breaking news” is spouted as often as “the” or “and.”

I found myself feeling hopeless and in despair. As a Christian, I hadn’t lost hope in Jesus–but I’d become convinced I may as well move out of the country because He’d lost the battle for America. That’s it. The socialists or communists or flag-burners had won.

So on November 7th–I shut it off.

And you know what, I’ve regained hope. Rather than being spoon-fed what Karl Rove or Dick Morris wants me to believe–I am hand-picking my news through online sites. I’m choosing sources that weed out the commentary and don’t seem to be slaves to one of the political parties. And guess what–once again I think America is a great place to live. I’m no longer convinced that my president hates America or that the speaker of the House only wants to schmooze with rich people. I feel like a fog has been lifted from my eyes and my spirit; I’ve regained perspective.

The truth is–I am probably closer in my political views to Fox News than to many other sources. But I can’t stand the non-stop doom and gloom. Even when there are economic statistics to celebrate or signs of strong leadership in a crisis–it’s a crime to acknowledge that or give any credit to “the other side.” I want news from a person with a brain–not one who spouts the party line. Don’t insult my intelligence and tell me what I’m supposed to think or how I’m supposed to react. Give me a break.

I have some friends who still live in the Fox News world every day for hours–and sometimes it seems they walk around defeated–like we should all build bunkers and buy guns because the world is going to end by the end of this week.

Maybe they are right, maybe the world will end soon. Maybe I’m wrong. But I’m not going to live as though it has already happened. The light and love of Jesus has shined pretty bright in much darker times over the past two thousand years. I think I’ll keep doing the next right thing, loving the next person Jesus brings across my path, and let others lament over the end of the world.

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Tim Stevens served as the executive pastor of Granger Community Church in Granger, IN, for twenty years before joining Vanderbloemen Search Group as the Director of the Executive Search Consultant Team where he helps churches and ministries around the world find their key staff. Tim has a passion for the local church and equipping leaders with practical advice and tools about church staffing and church leadership. He has co-authored three books with Tony Morgan, including Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Volunteers, and Simply Strategic Growth, and authored three books of his own, including Fairness Is Overrated: And 51 Other Leadership Principles To Revolutionize Your Workplace. Connect with Tim at LeadingSmart.com.