If you find yourself within Christian circles, you have likely heard about the sexual misconduct allegations against Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in northern Illinois and one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the country.
I attend a church in a neighboring suburb to Willow Creek. Bill Hybels was the pastor to my pastor. Our church was, at one time, part of the Willow Creek Association of Churches.
When the news first broke about Hybels this past March, the first reaction from most of my friends was disbelief. It was my first instinct, too. None of us wanted to hear that someone who has been a spiritual leader and guiding figure would do the things he was accused of.
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People have disliked the media since the creation of the media, and why not? It’s much easier to blame the people holding authority accountable instead of the authority itself. It’s much easier to blame the people bringing unpopular truths to light than to acknowledge what’s actually true. The media has been a safe scapegoat for generations, and likely will be for generations to come.
That being said, an alarming shift has taken place over the past few years; instead of journalists being passively blamed for all of life’s problems, they have been more actively threatened. It’s not just the media’s fault — the media needs to pay for their faults.
The marker of when this shift took place is painfully clear. I noticed it as a journalism student. No one thought twice about my college major until 2015. Suddenly, my career path was a problem. Suddenly, I needed to “rethink” my choice of joining a “dishonest” industry.
2015 was the year Donald Trump’s campaign took off. He sounded off at the media constantly, dubbing them “fake news” and regularly calling journalists “the enemy of the people.” He tweeted cartoons that depicted violence against reporters. Naturally, he was unapologetic about all of it.
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