There’s been a lot of anger in the airwaves lately. And it seems to center largely around two words: Fake news.
What is fake news? Some people seem to think it’s whatever is in the news that tells a story they personally disagree with. When the storyline doesn’t line up with their worldview, they dismiss it as “fake news.” That can happen on both sides of the political divide.
More often, it seems to be when the elite media chase a story that simply isn’t supported by the facts—or ignore one that is. And that points to a huge problem with the Fourth Estate, which has had immense power in framing the national debate for the last 50 years by choosing what to cover—and what not to.
Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, a pair of journalists from Ireland, took an unflinching look at this issue while doing research for a documentary film on abortionist Kermit Gosnell. As a matter of fact, during the course of their work, they found so much material on him the media had largely ignored that they wrote a book, released this January, titled Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer (Regnery Publishing).
One chapter of that is devoted entirely to how the mainstream media ignored Gosnell’s murder trial four years ago as it was taking place, until alternative Web sites like LifeNews.com and a host of people on Twitter made so much noise that it finally forced them to take notice. (See “Media Malpractice” in this issue, starting on page 24.)
There’s a revolution underway. The old guard of mainstream media has lapsed into a habit of telling people what they should think about current events, rather than just relating the events—and the masses are tired of it. So they’re turning more and more to social media through tools like Facebook Live and Periscope to frame their own discussions about what’s going on.
That’s the power of your platform: You don’t have to settle for what other people tell you anymore. You can use the technology at your fingertips to be a source of information and perspective in the sphere of influence you have.
Some people already do this, of course. It doesn’t take any special skill to fill a Facebook feed with a stream of bitter political invective about the people who disagree with you, or to post meme after meme that supports your personal viewpoint.
This is where you get to be different.
People who use the tools at their disposal to speak the truth in love? Who check their facts before reposting or retweeting articles? Who engage others with humility and respect, regardless of viewpoint? Who are infected by and contagious with hope about what they see God doing right now?
That would be real news. Not to mention Good News. Use the power of your platform to bring both.
Originally published in the April 2017 issue of Citizen magazine.