Pope Warns Right Wing Media Like Fox ‘News’ Fuels Terror, Imperils Freedom
Media Is A ‘Very Powerful Weapon’
The Pope reminded all journalists of the responsibility they bear to the people when it comes to truth-telling in media, calling journalism based on gossip or rumors a form of “terrorism.”
Because of the round-the-clock media coverage that is now available, the news engages in forming stories based in rumor or gossip, conjecture and implications, rather than seeking the truth. And this, Pope Francis said, is how media can become a form of terrorism.
“I have often spoken of rumors as ‘terrorism,’ of how you can kill a person with the tongue. If this is valid for an individual person, in the family or at work, so much more it’s valid for journalists, because their voice can reach everyone, and this is a very powerful weapon.”
Denunciation of evil, the Pope continued, shouldn’t come at the cost of lying about one another, because “the unjustly defamed can be destroyed forever.”
The Media Is How You Can ‘Kill A Person With Your Tongue’
More than that, Francis called upon the media to do right by refugees and migrants, stating that media should not be used as a “weapon of destruction against persons and even entire peoples.” In particular, Pope Francis criticized the way media stereotypes populations, and then creates a fear of that population, in particular with refugees. This is how it becomes possible, Pope Francis said, to “kill a person with your tongue.”
Media should not exist merely to frighten people into embracing right-wing rhetoric.
“Neither should it foment fear before events like forced migration from war or from hunger.”
When the media drives a narrative against refugees, for instance, it has actual implications of life and death for those refugees. And while Pope Francis was addressing leaders in Italy’s national journalists’ guild, where many of the media outlets are highly politicized, but he could have been addressing American media, as well.
Yeah, we’re looking at you, Fox News.
According to Politifact, a stunningly small 10 percent of what gets said on Fox News rates as true. Only 12 percent gets rated as “mostly true.” And that means that more than three-fourths of what is stated on Fox News, which heralds itself as “fair and balanced,” is actually not true. And yet this is where so many people get their news, which they take as fact.
No wonder Trump supporters remain convinced that Obama is a Muslim from Kenya, trying to usher in the New World Order, while letting in trillions of terrorists under the guise of “refugees” with no vetting as part of a Muslim plot to destroy America, and also, Hillary Clinton wants to take your gun (since Obama failed to do so, despite his many, many, many attempts).
Thanks, Fox News!
Cause And Effect
Media matters. Truth matters. It’s why outlets like Reverb Press exist – and no, we aren’t being paid by Hillary Clinton or George Soros, and we aren’t making stuff up (Trump really does say those things, and Republican policy really is that bad), and those little words and phrases highlighted in blue are links that take you to other sources in case you are ever in doubt.
When there is no truth in journalism, society does crazy things. Things like, oh, I don’t know – nominate a thin-skinned, bankrupt-laden reality star whose policies are non-existent and who brandishes his racism and xenophobia like badges of honor. This is what happens when media creates a frenzy of fear, when the media promotes sensationalism rather than facts, when knowing that scary headline will get people to click and read, and a nominee embraces that rhetoric of terror and rises as a strongman.
Pope Issues A Warning
Even as the Pope called the media out for their own brand of terrorism, he warned about rising dictatorships, and how they squash freedom of speech.
“Across history, dictatorships – of any orientation or ‘color’- have always tried to not only undertake the media, but also to impose new rules to the profession.”
Sound familiar? Is the “color” the Pope referring to orange, perhaps? Because even as, ironically, it was the fear promoted by the media that kept so much of the electorate ignorant that led to the rise of Trump, he’s already made it known he’s not a fan of truth in media. Trump has an actual media blacklist – outlets which are forbidden to come to campaign events. The Huffington Post, is one. The Washington Post is another. Buzzfeed. Univision.
Imagine what the media would look like under a Trump presidency. After all, this is the man who shrugged off the fact that his buddy Vladimir Putin murders journalists who don’t agree with him.
Fear-driven sensationalism that feeds into misconceptions is not journalism. The very purpose of journalism should be to educate, and deal solely in truth and facts. To do otherwise is not just foolish and irresponsible – it’s dangerous.
When people are told that refugees are a stain on society, a danger, that they should remain unwanted and homeless for the crime of being driven out of their own homeland by the very people they are being accused of being, that has life and death implications.
Just ask Omran Daqneesh.
— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) August 17, 2016
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