Our very active world

We will not comment on the state of affairs in the world today – at least per se. International news, national news for that matter, provides endless fodder for commentary – as a quick swing through the television channels will prove – but it is, as we say in the trade, “off our beat.”

We cover local news, news of the county, this county, our county. We make our best efforts to keep up with the coming and goings of community affairs, government not in the least, but then that’s what we’re here for, that’s what we do.

These calls to action from these people on lofty perches, even these calls of war and constitutional action … we’re just not there. Sure, it’s our world, all of us, but it’s not the floor our elevator stops on.

And with that, is why you won’t read in this space, a space for opinion, on an editorial page, as to the current state of national and international affairs. But heck, it’s not like you picked up this paper hoping for insight into the Middle East and/or national politics.

But we will, as individuals, keep up with these things, this news. And we fully expect you will do the same as well (after all, you’re the sort of person who reads editorials in weekly newspapers – and thank you). Like you, like us, we will read and hear the news reports in order to make sense of it all, to get the fuller picture of our world.

And we’re going to make a point here, and it is a value judgment, this point, and we dearly hope it takes root in your news-gathering efforts: If you’re getting your news from Facebook you’re not getting news.

We can’t make it any simpler than that, Facebook, social media really, is wonderful for all sorts of things. We are thankful it exists, but it’s also horrible for a few things. News, it is bad at news.

Now, let’s (this being an editorial and all) engage in a little more hair-splitting here, really get into it. We’re perfectly aware we maintain a Facebook page for this newspaper. We are further aware that other news organizations maintain pages there as well. We all use those pages to build up an attachment with our audience and are happy to do so. Perhaps we have posted a news story you have clicked on and gone to our website to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story in that it informed you in some way.

What we want to draw a distinction about, and what we’re calling to task here, is the stuff being posted from Albanian troll farms designed to look like news, designed to get you to, if not click, to at least be inflamed by it.

Often as not it’s some almost-true thing with an unflattering picture of a national political actor (Clinton, McConnel, whatever) and some bold-type assertion about, well, something terrible.

Ignore that stuff, it’s poison. No, seriously, it’s quite literally poison, designed to be dropped into our cultural water supply and poison us.

It’s going to get worse. And with recent events we can see it’s going to get a lot worse. And if you can’t send missiles over without risking something you can’t afford, then why not just – for less than the cost of a fighter squadron – put a bunch of kids to work putting out fake news stories about how “_______ is trying to _________!”

Get people upset, everybody gets mad at each other, the poison spreads and it’s all done way way cheaper than any missile.

In time to come you’ll have a chance to be part of the problem. If you are or not depends on what you like and what you share.

2 Timothy 2: 14-26 (NIV)

Dealing With False Teachers

14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

[emphasis added]

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