Recently the term “fake news” has
been applied to those in the media who present information as true when it
is selected, distorted, or even fabricated to push a particular political
agenda. While the phrase is relatively new, the process has been long
established. One reporter commenting on his coverage of the presidential
election of 1960 mentioned that he was talking with his friend (a fellow
journalist) who was assigned to travel with Nixon. He asked his friend if
he was disappointed to be stuck with Nixon. His friend said that he
thought he would be in a better position to help “Jack” this way.
Even many reporters in the 1930s considered themselves “fellow
travelers” (closet communists). However, the insurgency of social
manipulation was not limited to those presenting themselves as heralds of
truth, the entertainment industry also was busy advancing distorted images
of life such as presenting men as stupid dolts worthy of ridicule.
Radio and movies had advanced this long before television.
Even before the 20th century, Marx, Freud, and Darwin were heralded as
prophets of truth, understanding, and progress that would sweep away
simple-minded and outdated thinking represented by religious faith.
Perhaps the earliest example we have of fake news was when Satan told Eve
“Thou shalt not surely die” (Gen 3:4).
If we consider that Satan is the “father” of lies (John 8:44), and we
can see his hand throughout history, we should ask ourselves to what
purpose. As Christians we should be able to recognize the schemes of Satan
(2 Cor 2:11). However, our ability to discern is coupled with spiritual
maturity (Heb 5:14) and that is often lacking in the modern Christian
The use of lies and deception is usually for the purpose of manipulating
us to work to accomplish the objectives of Satan. As “fake news”
becomes increasingly obvious, it may indicate that our deception is no
longer needed as much. In a way, the world is divided into two groups,
those who value truth and those who find comfort in deception. The reason
so many are deceived, is because they failed to receive a love of the
truth. (2 Thess 2:10).
Truth does set one free (John 8:32). However, most people prefer to feel
good rather than have freedom. In fact, many find truth so uncomfortable
that they become hostile to it. Jesus prayed that his disciples would be
“sanctified” by the truth (John 17:17). Sanctify means to set apart.
This division can be seen when Jesus told his disciples that the world
would hate them (John 15:19). James writes that friendship with the word
was to be an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Christians who have seen themselves as more integrated into the world, may
be beginning to see that they will have to choose on which side they will
stand. John described the hatred people had for Jesus by saying that light
had come into the world, but people hated the light because their deeds
were evil. (John 3:19). The use of the word “hate” indicates a depth
of passion that may not yet be fully appreciated. Those who stand for
truth can expect to be reviled. It may be that martyrdom will soon be as
common in the West as it is Muslim countries.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution. - 2 Timothy 3:12