Accuracy in Media

The Oprah-promoted James Frey book, A Million Little Pieces, turned out to be fiction described as fact. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, a full frontal assault on the basic tenets of Christianity, has been sold as fiction based on fact. And that is why the major media should scrutinize this novel that is being turned into a major motion picture.

Carl E. Olson, co-author of the book, The Da Vinci Hoax, says, “There is no such thing as just a novel or just fiction from the standpoint that even lightweight popular fiction has ways of influencing how we see the world and affects our perception of important and unimportant things. Fiction-if we broaden that to include television shows, sitcoms, movies-is probably the primary means by which most people today gain their understanding of big and small issues alike.”

In an interview with Accuracy in Media, Olson said that another reason for scrutiny is that “it is clear there was an agenda behind this novel.” He noted that Brown has said on the Today Show that he wanted to challenge Christian beliefs and that he became “a believer” in the bizarre theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had a child, that a secret society called the Priory of Sion has possessed this shocking truth, and that the Christian Church has covered it up.

While the book is sold as fiction, Brown claims to deal with factual and historical events and even has a “fact page” in it. On that basis, Olson maintains, Brown has set himself up for special scrutiny. It is not as if we are just dealing with a writer of popular fiction. In addition, Olson notes, many readers seem to accept the book as authentic.

But have people lost the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction? “I don’t want to appear overly cynical,” Olson tells AIM. “But it’s quite clear to me that many readers of this novel-based on reading reviews, readers’ forums, and angry emails I have received-have kind of shut down their brains.”

Olson adds, “The power of this novel is that it triggers an emotional response from people who already have a dislike, a discomfort, or even a hatred for Catholicism or what they might call organized religion. Then they have a special reaction to it-that the novel validates what they’ve always thought or suspected was the case. They feel they finally know the truth-about Jesus or the early church-and it affirms people in a bias or feeling they might have toward something. So they fail then to follow up with looking at, as objectively as possible, the evidence for or against what is said in The Da Vinci Code.”

The failure to objectively examine a situation? It sounds like our major media in action. That’s why you shouldn’t look for the press to expose the anti-Christian bias of the coming film. The media, you see, share that bias. 

To the media, Christians are zealots who believe in fairy tales and stand in the way of human progress, such as gay marriage.

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