In politics, the phrase “fake news” is the new insult of choice. It’s a flame scorching everything it touches. While the phrase is relatively new, propaganda is as old as time.
“It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly [sic] deprive the nation of its benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” (Thomas Jefferson, 1807, in a letter to John Norvell)./1
Regardless of the derivation of the phrase, it was practically invisible until the election turned it into a firebrand./2
Quickly it lost all legitimacy and became whatever we needed it to be in the moment.
An ad hominem attack is defined by dictionary.com as, “(an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.”
You discredit the speaker and the message is supposedly illigetimate.
In John 7:10-15, the Jewish leaders used this method to discredit Jesus because he didn’t attend their Rabbinical schools. Truth, they believed, was the exclusive property of their social class.
Truth, however, exists whereever it matches with truth. Those we love can speak error and our enemies can proclaim truth. But only God has pure, absolute truth (John 16:13).
Biblically, anything that someone says that matches with God’s Word is true, regardless of whether we like the speaker or writer.
Lies sold as truth have existed as long as humanity has existed (Genesis 3-4). We must value truth above all, because God loathes lying (Revelation 21:8).
Speaking truth, however, doesn’t make us righteous unless we’ve had our sins washed in the blood of the lamb (Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4), and we’re walking in the light (1 John 1:7).
Fake news will continue to be batted about until a new phrase replaces it and it fades into history. Subjective truth is a hallmark of politics.
What should concern us is fake doctrine because it kills eternally (1 John 4:1; Galatians 1:8-10). God hates every false way and so must we (Psalm 119:104,128).