By Nathan Barton
Today, the buzzword is “fake-news” but it isn’t something new.
Almost anyone can be branded as evil (or just bad) by fake news.
For example, last year, a college football player has been vindicated after being accused of rape. According to The Blaze, the player had a date with the woman in which they had a good time (according to what she told her friends) but did not engage in anything involving coupling or other “adult” acts. But when he stopped replying to her texts, the woman apparently felt scorned and filed a legal complaint that he had raped her on the date. Fortunately, the local police investigated enough to find that her attitude towards him had changed completely, as documented by her own texts and messages, and that her accusation was false.
I could cite dozens of examples – maybe even from the last few weeks. It is not just politicians and celebrities who are the victims of fake news, or as better known, false accusations and just plain lies.
Back a long time ago, there was a very trusted employee of a wealthy man in Egypt. This young employee was solicited by his employee’s wife, but when he turned down her advances, she tore her clothing off and ran out of the house, screaming that the young man was trying to rape her. The young employee was fired and imprisoned; the woman’s lies were believed. The accusation was false. It would be years before he was released from prison, and not because she admitted to the false accusation. Rather, he did something to merit his freedom.
It has happened a lot of times, both over the millennia and in recent decades. One argument against the death penalty is a false conviction based on false accusations and a wrongful finding on the part of a jury.
Today, we hear it and read it on the news daily. Often, it is the media itself that is making the claim.
Some associates of mine were recently accused falsely of aggravated assault and menacing, for going to an acquaintance to ask him to mediate between them and a neighbor who was upset. Instead, the acquaintance attacked them, then filed charges with the local Sheriff’s office against my associates. After being arrested and posting bond, a judge at the initial hearing dismissed the charges. But it could have come out far differently. A peaceful and religious man (and his wife) have been slandered, shocked, and put to great cost over a simple visit.
Unfortunately, for every incident that ends (relatively) happy, there are others which end in debt (legal bills are worse than medical bills), imprisonment, loss of children and property, and worse. Because someone lies.
We all realize that this is inevitable – has been and will be a problem for all of us. But today, with our modern surveillance state and modern media, we can see the pluses and minuses:
- It is easier than ever for gossip, lies, false accusations and fake news to spread quickly.
- It is harder than ever to get the truth out – and get the lies withdrawn.
- But it is possible to get the word out.
- And it is possible to verify and confirm or reject things that we hear.
- Government with its ever-present eyes and ears, and with the aid of a growing army of informers, is more and more involved in creating and spreading the lies.
What can we do?
- First, always be vigilant: look at everything you hear, read, or see with jaunticed eyes and ears. Consider the source as well as the beneficiaries of such tales.
- Second, challenge things that are not the truth. Be proactive in defense of yourself and others.
- Third, be very careful about what you say and what you pass on to others.