What do journalists and prophets have in common? A lot. They are both bearers of news – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though they are not originators of news, we depend on them to inform and educate us on critical and at times mundane issues.
True prophets are revered because of their unique privilege of visiting the divine situation room and bringing us the mind of God. We also look to prophets to interpret for us sometimes complex matters of earth, from a heavenly perspective.
For example, is the war in Ukraine a final trip to the Armageddon? What about the 2022 elections in Kenya – is there a divine preference for who should be the fifth President? These and many similar questions belong to the prophets.
As a people believed to frequent the inner sanctums of heaven, when prophets speak, we expect them to do so with the highest levels of truthful objectivity. They must convey only factual information and offer only Spirit inspired interpretations.
Otherwise, they betray the trust of heaven and of earth. No wonder in Old Testament times, God put a premium on the heads of prophets. Any deviations from the truth were severely punished – usually by stoning to death. At times, false prophets were devoured by wild beasts. In the new dispensation, though false prophets may not suffer instant punishment, severe judgement awaits them.
Like prophets, journalists in particular and the media in general are supposed to provide objective news and analyses to help society make informed choices. That is why they have access into proscribed spaces and can strut war zones. They can interview Queen Elizabeth in one moment, pray with the Pope in another, and have dinner with Putin in the next.
With such almost unfettered access to power, we believe them when they tell us what they have heard and what they have seen. We consume their news analysis and interpretation of phenomena without much interrogation – believing that they can only tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is an awesome responsibility.
It is therefore an act of high treason when a prophet or a journalist becomes an originator of truth. It is a tragedy of momentous proportions, when prophets and journalists impose their own views on us, seeking to pollute our minds with their biases or shift our stand to a predetermined position.
Such men and women of the cloth and of the pen are good for nothing and should be stoned to death. Because in abandoning the dictates of their calling, they become mercenaries that often stir up emotions and lead the innocent astray.
For the sake of national peace and cohesion, journalistic and prophetic objectivity is paramount, especially in a volatile election season.
Unfortunately, there is a growing trend in our society in which prominent journalists and leading opinion writers are enlisted by politicians to sell a partisan agenda. In some cases, whole media houses have been entrapped into becoming mouthpieces of a political party or a particular candidate. They thus tilt the news and commentaries, ever so subtly, in favour of their masters – thus giving us distorted truth or outright lies.
Likewise, many prophets arise in such seasons to sway our thoughts in specific political directions while purporting to be the oracles of Heaven. They proclaim, “Thus says the LORD…,” but what they actually mean is, “Thus says the lord…” Yes, the lord to whom they are beholden or in whose payroll they are enlisted. It is tragic.
Though instant justice is no longer commonplace, there appears to be some fate that befalls such journalists and prophets who sacrifice their calling at the altar of parochial agenda. Many prominent journalists and columnists have fallen from the pedestal and faded into oblivion. Likewise, respected clergy who have chosen the path of political sycophancy, have inevitably lost their honour and blunted their cutting edge.
Truth be told, politicians – like cats – have nine lives. They do crazy things, yet are somehow able to bounce back into relevance. The rest of us mortals have only one bullet in our guns. You lose it or sell it, and you are done – sometimes for life.