A man who believes that Jesus Christ transforms into a cracker and that a snake persuaded a woman to unleash sin into the world said today that “fake news” is the work of the Devil.
Pope Francis said in a speech at the Vatican that “fake news” began with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and the situation hasn’t improved since then.
“Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions and serve economic interests,” the Pope said.
The Pope’s message blames the difficulty in unmasking and eliminating fake news to people interacting with homogeneous news environments rather than listening to differing perspectives and opinions.
“Disinformation thus thrives on the absence of healthy confrontation with other sources of information that could effectively challenge prejudices and generate constructive dialogue; instead, it risks turning people into unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas,” the Pope’s message said.
You don’t say…
There is no such thing as harmless disinformation; trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 24, 2018
I’m… I’m pretty sure the Pope just endorsed atheism.
He went on to say that quality journalism was the antidote to these lies.
“I would like to contribute to our shared commitment to stemming the spread of fake news and to rediscovering the dignity of journalism and the personal responsibility of journalists to communicate the truth.”
That’s all well and good, but we’re talking about the same guy who just this week dismissed allegations of covering up sexual abuse against one of his own bishops, Juan Barros, saying he wouldn’t believe the victims unless they had more solid proof. As if victims take selfies with their abusers.
Fake news isn’t just a matter of journalists putting credible information out there. Good ones do that already. The problem is that too many people are unwilling to hear criticism of beliefs they have no matter how much evidence points in the opposite direction. The problem, then, isn’t that there’s too much fake news; it’s that there are too many ignorant people.
While we’re at it, let’s admit the obvious: Part of the problem is that we have religious leaders who push lies (not merely religious opinions) about LGBTQ people, the efficacy of birth control, the power of prayer, the validity of science, the goodness of everything they do, etc.
Pope Francis’ words would carry more weight if he were able to at least cast a more critical eye on his own Church and faulty beliefs. But he perpetuates falsehoods as much as the people he’s decrying. It makes as much sense as a Fox News anchor whining about media bias.
You just have to roll your eyes and wonder when they’ll realize they’re talking about themselves.
(Image via Shutterstock)