“Children! Children! These are scary times. Things are growing worse by the hour. The news is so bad that only I can receive it.”
“One cannot receive without sacrifice. I don’t want y’all to have to feel this pain.”
“I have just received word…”
“I am the receiver of the news.”
“I am the giver of the news.”
“I am the news.”
Suddenly, the hour was upon us. Gunfire exploded everywhere. The government was shocked. Power is often blinding. Victory after victory was ours. I just knew that it was over. We all did. Right before I shook another victorious hand, I heard repeated muffled cries on the radio. “We have failed to secure the national media.” Shakes turned to panic, for we all knew, “You can’t control the people without controlling their news.”
Have you ever seen clips of news in North Korea? There is nothing news about it. It is a production intended to induce submission. I don’t think they’re alone in such efforts.
Have you watched Fox News lately?
“This is Mike Prokes.”
“We are a people constantly under attack.”
“The news cannot be trusted.”
“We must construct our own news.”
Every despot has speakers. Regardless of their placement, their intention is clear: to make sure people listen. The ones in the middle of Jonestown constantly shared the news. Jim Jones wanted to make sure that he never lost his grip over the news. He didn’t.
“Did you hear the shots last night?”
“Blacks are being led to concentration camps.”
“The world economy is collapsing.”
“”We are surrounded by our enemies.”
There was only one source for news in Jonestown. The only problem was that Jim Jones’ microphone wasn’t an antenna. Donald Trump’s ain’t either.
One cannot save the people until you save their news.
(Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood is a Baptist pastor, theologian and activist living and working in North Carolina. Dr. Hood’s extensive work has appeared in numerous media outlets, including in the Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Los Angeles Times, WIRED magazine and on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and NPR. He writes regularly at http://revjeffhood.com/. His previous article for the jonestown report is The Theology of Jonestown: Radical Explorations in Redemption. His other articles in this edition are Phenomenology / Healing & Rev. Jim Jones, God is not silent, and Dreams and Nightmares: Prayers to the Father. He can be reached at email@example.com.)