Pope Francis released a message condemning “fake news,” saying that it’s a “sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred.”
The Vatican says the message is part of the Pope’s World Communications Day, but some at St. Peter’s Square say the Pope was probably sending a message to Donald Trump and other world leaders who have been using the phrase “fake news.”
The tragic history of human sin, the Pope says in his message, is the first “fake news” and it dates back to the book of Genesis, when the “crafty serpent” lied to the woman. In present day, according to the Pope’s message the fast digital world helps fuel the spread of “fake news” — which he defines as “the spreading of disinformation on line or in the traditional media.”
“Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions and serve economic interests,” the Pope said.
The Pope’s message blames the difficulty in unmasking and eliminating fake news to people interacting with homogeneous news environments rather than listening to differing perspectives and opinions.
“Disinformation thus thrives on the absence of healthy confrontation with other sources of information that could effectively challenge prejudices and generate constructive dialogue; instead, it risks turning people into unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas,” the Pope’s message said.