SUMMARY: Skye Jethani of The Holy Post and Jesse Eubanks of Love Thy Neighborhood team up to discuss fake news, the role Christians play in spreading it, and how Christians can break out of the fake news cycle.
Before diving into a real world example of the consequences (pastors are quitting, churches are splitting) of fake news and how quickly it can spread, Jethani defines fake news by referencing the University of Michigan’s four categories of fake news.
Believe it or not, most fake news stories are not propagated to deceive people, but to make money. The more outlandish the headline, the more people click on the article and the more money people make. Unfortunately, some of the people most susceptible to fake news are conservative Christians.
Eubanks deftly says that Christians have been dealing with fake news from the moment of Jesus’ resurrection as he references Matthew 28:12-15 where the priests convince the guards to lie about Jesus’ resurrection.
The duo conclude the episode with practical steps to break the outrage/fake news cycle while imploring fellow Christians to take ownership of their actions and not place blame on social media.
KEY QUOTE: “The church ought to be giving us the tools and wisdom to live like Christ in this really complicated time and to make sure that, not only that we are not doing harm by spreading fake news, but that we can actually be a source of truth and goodness in our communities.”
BONUS: Allsides.com – Suggested by Rachel Wightman to help identify fake news, AllSides.com presents headlines from the left, center, and right side by side so you can see how each side covers a specific topic or event.
DID YOU KNOW? Sunday to Saturday has curated topical playlists on Listen Notes where you can subscribe and listen to the curated episodes in your favorite podcast player.
More curated resources on how to read the news:
From newspaper fact checkers to evaluation methods such as S.I.F.T. to diversifying one’s news feeds there is a tremendous amount of energy and time being devoted to debunking lies and conspiracy theories. Despite the trend to provide better quality and quantity of information to the public, according to a 2022 PPRI poll, 60% of white evangelical Protestants believe the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump while Qanon conspiracies ravage large swaths of churches in America. While fact checking methods and diversifying one’s news feed can be helpful, it seems it is doing little to move people from yelling at each other to holding a respectful conversation. How did the church get here? Is there a theological way of consuming the news? How can we think and act Christianly to the news?Read more
Practical. Easy to learn. Easy to implement. The S.I.F.T. method, developed by Washington State professor Mike Caulfield, is a must learn methodology when engaging with and sharing media online.Read more