Fake News

The news coverage in the USA is a tale of two narratives. On the right-wing, pro-Trump media outlets like Fox News highlight how (before COVID) the Trump administration achieved record rates of employment (among everyone including African Americans), economic growth, forced the European Union to pay their way in NATO etc. Whereas the left-wing media outlets, like the Washington Post and the New York Times, are highly critical of Trump’s foreign policy, handling of #BLM and COVID etc.

It doesn’t seem to matter what the topic is, or what the evidence is – one group of people loyally follow Trump – while the other criticise him at every turn. For his part, Trump spins only one side of the story and calls everything else fake news.

I have never seen the media so divided. So lined up in one camp or the other. So partisan. This is scary. You would think the news is the news, and the facts are the facts. But it appears not. Increasingly media outlets are telling one side of the news – the side that aligns with their political and social views.

And sadly, this trend is coming to Australia. The media reports of Anglicare’s Newmarch House were damning and relentless. I counted over 40 stories with ‘Newmarch’ in the heading on the ABC website alone. None of them positive. A common formula was interviews with distressed family members.

Contrast this with the outbreak at the Melbourne Islamic school – El Taqwa. By my count, on the ABC website, the school is named in only three headings and appears in seven stories. Sadly, 19 residents died at Newmarch house, and this makes for dramatic headlines. And rightly so. But the Al Taqwa cluster infected 183 persons and is the second biggest cluster in Victoria. It was also newsworthy, I would have thought. But it appears not.

Trial by media, I suggest, is becoming one of the new forms of the persecution of the Church in the West.         

Rev David Rietveld

Senior Minister

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