Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review: The Smear: How Shady Political Operative and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote

A sobering read, for sure. Author Sharyl Attkisson defines a smear as an effort to manipulate opinion by spreading an overblown, scandalous and damaging narrative. She opens our eyes to little known details. For instance, when we read a letter to the editor by an unknown name, it may actually have been ghostwritten by a paid agent who “rent” the use of someone’s signature.

Citing from history, Attkisson tells how both the precursor to the CIA and the Nazis spread propaganda during World War II, going so far as to influence people through songs played on the radio. Citing incidents relating to Don Imus and Glenn Beck, she tells how smear artists grasp onto a “sprinkle of truth” and blow it out of proportion until it destroys a reputation.

And there’s big money behind such efforts. Attkisson researched the connections of David Brock, head of a “media watchdog” called Media Matters. She lists 15 organizations at the same high-rise address in Washington, D. C., all with Brock connections. With names such as “Political Correction Project,” “Correct the Record” and “True Blue Media LLC, one would think these were organizations dedicated to truth. Rather, through opposition research, negative ads and other media tools, they are dedicated to causing the ruin of anyone who doesn’t agree with their ideology. Brock’s known compensation from his network totals millions of dollars annually. 

Sharyl Attkisson is a bestselling author and host of Sinclair’s national investigative television program Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson. She has covered controversies through the administrations of four presidents and received the Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting. Attkisson has reported nationally for CBS News, PBS and CNN. This imprint of HarperCollins, 2017, is not an easy read, but it will inform the way you watch the news and read your daily paper.

The book's closing line: “For now, one thing you can count on is that most every image that crosses your path has been put there for a reason. Nothing happens by accident. What you need to ask yourself isn’t so much Is it true, but Who wants me to believe it—and why?

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Sand Traps of Life

 Dear Friends,

As I watched a televised golf tournament, the rough terrain reminded me of my journey through life. From an aerial view, the fairway wound like a green ribbon by sand traps, some dropping sharply off the edge of the fairway. Landing a ball in such bunkers called for wisdom and skill on the part of golfers to get their balls back on track. At times the fairway curved at a dogleg angle; that posed a different kind of challenge.
Isn’t that just like life? We may be swinging along, having a good time, when all of a sudden our ball lands in a bunker. We face a loss, an unexpected illness, a financial setback. We experience pain, heartache, disappointment. Sometimes, like a dogleg angle, our lives curve into unexpected directions, places we do not want to go. Now what?
Those are times we can trust our creative God to act on our behalf. His ways are much different from ours. We may just want happiness for the moment, but he wants to give us joy in him for a lifetime. Our part is to submit to circumstances we cannot change and wait for God to use them for his purposes.
"This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles." Psalm 34:6 (NIV) May that be our cry.
Prayer: O God, walk with us today as circumstances stretch our faith. Remind us that you have helped us in the past and we can trust you for the future. 
Have a blessed month filled with thankfulness for God's daily blessings.



December 2, 10 a.m. - Friends of the Heart at Christmas Brunch at New Buffalo CMA Church, "Mary: Ordinary or Extraordinary?"

Book Review: War Room

                If you’ve seen the movie “The War Room” you may think you don’t need to read the book. I beg to differ. While you’ll know the end of the story, you glean so much inspiration from the book. While watching a movie, insightful comments slip right by as you’re carried into the next scene. But when you read the book, you can pause and let words sink in and inform your faith.

                The War Room is the fictional story of a real estate agent whose marriage is in trouble when she meets a client who believes in the power of prayer. That’s all I’ll say about the story, because I don’t want to spoil your reading. But this is truly inspirational reading since there is so much truth written on the pages of this novel.

                And if you’ve already read the book but not seen the movie, I encourage you to watch it. Priscilla Shirer (a Bible teacher and daughter of Tony Evans, a Christian pastor, speaker and author) plays the role of Elizabeth, the real estate agent, and does a marvelous job of it.

                I don’t read many novels, but this one packs a powerful wallop and reminds you that prayer is a powerful weapon. You’ll certainly be inspired to pray and to pray more specifically. Give it a read.