Much has been said lately about the fact that some, maybe many news stories you see on the Internet, and sometimes from more so-called "mainstream" media---like NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN are simply not true.
So much so that a new term has been coined for it---"Fake News."
Most of these news organizations have been condemning "fake news" in an effort to shore-up their own credibility---and sagging ratings.
However, the hypocrisy of CNN condemning fake news on one hand, while perpetuating it on the other blew up yesterday when President-elect Trump told CNN in front of the world, "You are fake news."
It's further disappointing to learn that John McCain may have been at least partially behind the story about Trump making it into the news cycle.
The story being reported is frankly the lowest and most distasteful I've seen in the sewer we call "the news."
Yesterday during his press conference, President-elect Trump took aim at "fake news" regarding the release of an unverified dossier about him personally by news source "Buzzfeed" and repeated a number of times by CNN.
CNN, as you know, is seen all over the world.
Trump questioned how the dossier, which was said to be referenced in his "classified" briefing this week, was so quickly leaked to the public following the briefing. Trump is absolutely denying the content of the report, saying it was made-up by political enemies.
Russia, whatever that's worth, said yesterday they didn't have this information before it became public.
CNN has been repeatedly reporting on it, telling the public that Russia has this information on Trump that they can use against him---and/or it can bring Trump down.
Yesterday, CNN's Jim Acosta began shouting at Trump, "Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?"
Trump said, "No"---then added, "Your organization is terrible."
Here's the terrible part.
Recently, Buzzfeed decided to publish a series of memos that have been floating around for months---memos that even the other news organizations had decided were false---"fake" news. Some of them had to do with Russia trying to influence our election, some had to do with Trump personally.
Those related to Trump personally are X-rated and say that Russia has a video of Trump when he was in Moscow a number of years ago. I will not describe the content, but it is related to Trump and prostitutes and alleges certain depraved behavior on the part of Trump.
You might expect conservative Christian Brent Bozell, head of Media Research, to condemn what Buzzfeed and CNN has done---and he does, saying the story is "salacious fake news," explaining this is why "the media's ratings are in the toilet."
You would not expect John Podhoretz at the New York Post to published an article condemning the publishing of the story.
He begins with this disclaimer: "Readers of this newspaper know well not to include me among Trump's supporters."
Continuing, he says, "But the scurrilousness of what Buzzfeed has done here is so beyond the bounds of what is even remotely acceptable, it should compel even those most outraged by Trump's political excesses to come to his defense and to the defense of a few other people mentioned in these papers whose names are also dragged through the mud."
He says, "There is literally no evidence on offer in these memos or from Buzzfeed that any single sentence in these documents is factual or true. What's more, we know most other major news organizations in America had seen them and despite their well-known institutional antipathy toward Trump, had chosen not to publish them or even make a reference to them after efforts to substantiate them had failed."
No news organization has been able to verify or substantiate any part of these memos.
Buzzfeed says the document was prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligent officer.
The "intelligence source" is anonymous.
Podhoretz, at the NY Post, says, "I've been a newspaper and magazine editor for 31 years, and like many in my profession, have had occasion over the course of four decades to work with many people linked to intelligence agencies both domestic and foreign when they are retailing stories injurious to one or another politician or cause."
Yesterday, John McCain admitted that he had passed the dossier of a Russian blackmail plot against president-elect.
Republican McCain, a sworn enemy of Trump, was being pressed as to exactly what his role was in pushing this false story forward.
He is saying he got it last year, and upon examination of the contents, "I delivered the contents to the Director of the FBI," even though he thought the document was riddled with errors and unverifiable claims.
The Daily Mail is claiming that McCain may be "far more intimately involved than that."
Carl Bernstein (Woodward-Bernstein reporters who broke the Watergate story on Nixon) told CNN that McCain actually got the dossier from the former British ambassador to Moscow, who in turn got it from a guy who was hired from a political opposition research firm in Washington [DC]."
Regardless of how deeply involved McCain may have been in this, there's little question---by his own admission yesterday, that he is.
Podhoretz says Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith acknowledges that "there is serious reason to doubt the allegations."
In other words, there is almost certainly "fake news" in those memos.
Ben Smith says in defense of himself, "Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017."
A widely read editor said just last month---December 2016, that in 2017 "'fake news will become more sophisticated, and fake, ambiguous, and spun-up stories will spread widely in the coming year."
The widely read editor?
Ben Smith. The editor of Buzzfeed.
As Pilate asked, "What is truth?"--- We are asking the same today.
Deception is a web we weave through lies, misrepresentation, and omission---sometimes even through ignorant ambition. But usually on purpose.
Deception, at its heart, is spiritual, more than political.
Christians must be informed in these days. We must also be discerning. And vigilant.
It is written: (Eph. 6:12) "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.