I was recently made aware of a Facebook post proclaiming that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump for the position of President of the United States. This claim is false. (References here, here, and here.) It was a “news story” from WTOE 5 News – a fake news outlet. This post was among the most shared posts on Facebook. It was also said that the Pope forbid Christians from voting for Hilary. Also false.
Just in the last few days, the Pope has expressed concern over a world divided and concerns regarding climate change. President-elect Trump has publicly demeaned and threatened to alienate large groups of people all over the world based on their heritage, their nationality, their religion, and even their gender. He has also voiced plans to put a well-known climate skeptic at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency, spoken about plans to dismantle the organization all together, and purported that climate change in general is a hoax. If that isn’t a contradiction, I don’t know what is.
Clearly, a large group of Christians and even Catholics voted for Mr. Trump. My question is why. I believe the answer is misinformation – particularly that of Fox News.
While I can accept and truly appreciate varied perspectives on the best way to move our nation, and the world, in a positive direction, I cannot believe that well-meaning folks with Christian hearts would vote for a man so opposite their own spiritual leader. What I do believe, is that these people – believing they were well informed – voted for a man whose image was spun as one that fit with Christian values, and against a woman whose image was spun as one against those same values.
All news sources are flawed. This is without question. But for one of the most well followed “news” sources in our country to perpetuate out and out lies, is a situation I can no longer tolerate silently. In fact, Fox News scores among the lowest in accuracy, with this study showing that “Watching Only Fox News Makes You Less Informed Than Watching No News At All“. Another media accuracy watchdog group found that almost 60% of statements made on Fox News were “Mostly False”, “False”, or “Pants on Fire“. This compared with CNN which scored about 20% in those categories. NBC scored at about 41% across the “false” categories. Another news source, referencing the watchdog group’s findings, also reported on other false claims made on Fox News. Fox’s misinformation is so well known across the country that hashtags and memes like the ironic #foxnewsfacts and a Facebook page titled “FoxNewsLieOfTheDay” have become quite popular. There was even a Daily Show vine featuring 50 Fox News Lies in 60 seconds, which was fact-checked here.
So then, my plea is this; Let us embrace our differences, let us acknowledge, appreciate, and discuss our different ideas. Let us not do it with blatant misinformation and spoon-fed lies. PLEASE, if you are a Fox News Loyalist, consider finding another news media source. And if you get your news from Facebook – FACT CHECK IT.