Pope Francis Says Those Who Make Up Stories Utilize ‘Snake Tactics’

By Edgar Jiménez from Porto, Portugal (Papa rock star) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Pope said the first fake news was in the Garden of Eden

On Catholic feast day of Francis de Sales, Pope Francis had an important message for all the journalists in the world. To mark World Communications Day, Pope Francis said that people who spend time making up stories utilize “snake tactics” to spread them like wildfire.

Every year, he makes a social communications message. For 2018, he said that fake news takes advantage of prejudices and stereotypes. He also said that there should be more effort in teaching users of social media the difference between false and real reports.

According to Pope Francis, the first time the world witnessed fake news was at the time of Garden of Eden. The serpent used disinformation to tempt Eve to eat an apple from the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil.

He had the following to say about the snake, “The strategy of this skilled ‘Father of Lies’ is precisely mimicry, that sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments.”

He added, “There is no such thing as harmless disinformation; on the contrary, trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences.”

The title of his speech was The truth will set you free — Fake news and journalism for peace. While addressing those before him, the Pope said that fake news manipulates social media to spread them as quickly as possible. He also said that he was against digital networks that don’t care about the difference in opinions and perspectives. Fake news in his eyes “is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred.”

Pope Francis urged journalists to take the responsibility and verify the stories before reporting them to the media. He said that it is their mission to ensure that people only get to read accurate stories.

He had the following to say to journalists, “By that, I do not mean the saccharine kind of journalism that refuses to acknowledge the existence of serious problems or smacks of sentimentalism. On the contrary, I mean a journalism that is truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines … a journalism less concentrated on breaking news than on exploring the underlying causes of conflicts, in order to promote deeper understanding and contribute to their resolution by setting in place virtuous processes.”

Francis has mastered the art of using the media to spread his messages to the world. However, he still resents reports that consider only one side of the story. He called such reports, “sins of the media: disinformation, slander, and defamation.”

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