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Friday, February 3, 2017

On to Happier Topics…

Presidential 'Audacity and Recklessness'
The problem with The Galli Report is this: I have to compose it by Tuesday night, but it isn't published until Friday. A lot can happen in three days, which gets me into trouble sometimes, like last week. On Tuesday, I wrote that Donald Trump "deserves at least some space to pass specifically bad policies." That was intended as both facetious and charitable—that is, we need to give a new sitting president some time to warm up to the job, and that he will inevitably make bad decisions. Before the sun dawned on Friday, Trump had issued a number of executive orders that, to put it mildly, deserved less "space" and more criticism.
I'll spare you the articles that criticized this executive order or that—of which there were thousands. In that cacophony, I looked for someone who isn't a Trump hater or a Trump defender, and who could step back and look at the forest instead of the trees. A Rod Dreher blog, in which he pulls in commentary from David Brooks and Eliot Cohen, proved to fit the bill.
CT, of course, weighed in. My offering, for what it's worth, was more about how we might respond to one executive order if we took the advice of King David. We also published an intriguing news report from our correspondent in Cairo on "What Arab Leaders Think of Trump Prioritizing Persecuted Christian Refugees."

Does the Media Make Us Afraid of Terrorists?
In another post, I lamented the sad state of contemporary journalism, only to have a journalist I respect write to say:
As a journalist for 45 years, the journalists I have known, and know, are honest professionals, not given to letting partisan opinions color or "dominate" their reporting. Nor do they conspire to "slant" their reporting. Such actions belong to other publications promoting a specific political line or philosophy.
My sweeping critique suggests that I too am subject to the wiles of celebrity journalists, who in my experience often conflate opinion with reporting. But while they get a lot of attention, real journalists continue their unsung work with dedication, in papers small and large. HT to journalist William Schuster.
That being said, even good journalists do things, often inadvertently, that makes it harder for us to grasp reality. This analysis in Priceonomics marshals research to argue—persuasively, it seems to me—that the "media fuels our fear of terrorism." In my view, this has less to do with bias than it has to do with "giving readers what they want" and fishing for those elusive page views and subscriptions. I know of where I speak, since we're tempted by this every day at CT.
On to Happier Topics…
… like learning to read fast and well. Apparently, speed-reading tips are not all that helpful.
… like what Americans think that God thinks of the Super Bowl and devout athletes.
… like spiritual "immigration" and existential "refugees," and the grace that covers us all.

The same judgment in which God accuses and condemns us as sinners and gives us up to death, he pardons us and places us in a new life before him and with him.

—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV I page 516.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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