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Pope Says Fake News Is Satanic, Condemns Use in Politics

Pope Says Fake News Is Satanic, Condemns Use in PoliticsPope Says Fake News Is Satanic, Condemns Use in Politics

Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned fake news as satanic, saying journalists and social media users should shun and unmask manipulative “snake tactics” that foment division to serve political and economic interests.

“Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. That is the end result of untruth,” Francis said in the first document by a pope on the subject, Reuters reported.

The document was issued after months of debate on how much fake news may have influenced the 2016 US presidential campaign and the election of President Donald Trump.

“Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests,” the pope wrote, condemning the “manipulative use of social networks” and other forms of communication.

 “This false but believable news is ‘captious’, inasmuch as it grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices and exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration,” Francis said.

He called for “education for truth” that would help people discern, evaluate and understand news in order to recognize the “sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments”.

Francis compared the use of fake news to the Bible story of the devil, who, disguised as a serpent, persuaded Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. He said she was fed wrong information by Satan, who told her the fruit would make her and Adam as all-knowing as God.

“We need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake-tactics’ used by those (purveyors of fake news) who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place.”

 

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