Fake News Isn’t News and It Isn’t New
There’s a lot of talk these days about fake news. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. That being said, it does appear to be much more blatant these days. When I was younger, news outlets at least tried to make an appearance of being balanced and fair.
I have some firsthand experience with fake news and it’s frustrating as well as infuriating to be on the receiving end of it.
Some years ago, my local Church of Scientology was in a legal battle with an individual who was violating the law. We took him to court and eventually won. What we didn’t win was the battle with fake news.
When this all started, he went to the media to plead his case. He couldn’t wait until the court date, because he knew he didn’t have a legal leg to stand on. However, the court of public opinion has no requirements of proof or truth so is easily used to get people on one’s side. All you have to do is find someone willing to spread your lies and off they go.
When we found out which news station he was talking to, we sent a representative over to give them facts. She spent hours at the station recording our response on camera.
That evening I watched the news and was astonished to hear the anchor state that he had reached out to our church and we refused to speak with him. Wow! Talk about fake news.
Being persistent in our attempt to get some sort of fair treatment, a representative of our international Church flew in the next day and went to this station to set the record straight. He interviewed on camera with the news anchor for most of the day. That evening, the only thing the station aired was one half of one sentence that could be taken out of context to make it look negative. Out of hours and hours of interviews, they aired about eight words. I guess those were the only words that fit their narrative. It was certainly evident that they weren’t looking for the truth—they were looking for something that matched their idea of who we were. It seemed that titillation trumped truth. The truth was way too pleasant and “bland.”
All of which is to say, beware fake news. Look for yourself and find out.
Well, I certainly got a different view of the “news” from that experience.
If it were just annoying, that would be one thing. B ut it is far more destructive than that. People have been driven to very bad behavior by this false information, including driving a car through the front doors of one of our churches and up to the nursery just inside. Thankfully no children were hurt by the crazy driver, but she thought, in a warped way, she was doing right because she was convinced by some awful people.
All of which is to say, beware fake news. Look for yourself and find out. The Church of Scientology does a great deal of good in the world. Only those interested in keeping things held down or stirred up would attack us. They are not dedicated to the truth. They deal in lies and upset. They don’t even know the definition of “news.”
What they report is nothing more than the latest gossip and it isn’t worth the 0s and 1s nor the news print.