NEWSWe are blessed to live in a day and age in which we have so much news from around the world available in so many easily available forms. When I was a kid in the 1950s and 1960s, we had two TV channels with 15 minutes of US and world news each day in glorious black-and-white. Very few people had color televisions back then. The news anchor would be almost all that you would see. There were no satellite feeds providing live reporting from any place! Radio was a major source for news, as most stations had at least a 5-minute news broadcast every hour on the hour. Newspapers were also in glorious black-and-white, except for the Sunday comics which were in color. Again, because of the relatively primitive technologies and travel, it was much more difficult getting relevant news reporting in a timely fashion.

     One of the negative things about news reporting is often the lack of historical background. For instance, there might be news reporting about the checkpoints that Israel has set up. This inconveniences many Palestinian Arabs in their travels and employment. What the media ignore is the fact that Israel didn't have these checkpoints a couple of decades ago. The checkpoints were set up as a result of a huge increase in terrorism, whereby many Israelis were being murdered and many buses full of passengers were being blown up. Yes, the checkpoints are inconvenient. It also costs the Israeli government huge amounts of money and personnel to maintain these checkpoints. However, these checkpoints have dramatically decreased the amount of terrorism in Israel. And as long as terrorism continues to be a threat, there will be checkpoints.

     Of course, even the news reporting that I had over half a century ago was light years ahead of what was available in earlier centuries. The speed of news reporting from overseas was based on sailing vessels that took months to transverse the oceans. Then it required a horse to deliver the news to the hinterlands deep inside the continents.

     Today, you can watch the news, often live on-site, in full and living color. Although less popular, we still have news magazines and newspapers, which have ready access to various technologies to get us the news. We also have the Internet, which greatly multiplies the amount of news and information that people can receive. The bad news is that there is also an abundance of "fake news" that many people often accept as factual. Much of it reminds me of supermarket tabloids like the National Enquirer. Many people believe that if something is in print, then it must be true! They seem to believe that if it wasn't factual, it could not be printed. Well, it isn't true of the National Enquirer, and it isn't true with all of the news media today, and never was true.

     Years ago, there was a fake news story as well as a popular tract that I saw declaring that many tons of rocks were being mined and sent to Israel for the construction of the Third Temple. If you have ever been to Israel, you will see mountains composed primarily of rock. The Talmud has a cute story about Creation. An angel was given a huge bag of rocks and was told to deliver these rocks all over the world. Unfortunately, the bag broke when the angel was flying over Israel. Of course, this isn't a true story. But there is no shortage of rocks in Israel that would require Israel to import them!

     Likewise, there was "fake news" story decades ago that there was a massive increase in the number of vultures in Israel. Christians picked up on this fake news, and distributed thousands of tracts declaring that millions of vultures were there because the War of Armageddon was near.

     During the presidency of George Bush Jr., there was the widely reported fake news story that the "chem trails" left by military jets were a new form of mind control being instituted by the Republicans. Even if this bizarre story was true, it was an utter failure; the Democrats took over in 2008. I was also told with utter seriousness that Bush Jr. was building a wall on our southwest border.  Here's the wild part: It wasn't being built to keep the Mexicans out; it was being built to keep the Americans in so that they don't escape to Mexico!

     Fake news was greatly enabled during the Obama years with the advent of dozens of high-tech fake news websites that look very professional. They often report on actual news events, but either exaggerate many details or invent completely fictional details. Occasionally, the story is simply completely fictional, with no foundation in reality.

     I'm not defending everything that the mainstream media report. Reporters for CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS, NPR, CBS, and FOX often have their own biases. Foreign news sources such as BBC are often even worse, especially when reporting on events in Israel. However, these media sources are paragons of virtue compared to the fake news websites. The amazing thing is that many people actually believe these wild and fantastic stories! There has been a huge explosion in fake news, as the Internet has become a major source for news.

"There are six things which the LORD (YHWH) hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. A heart that devises wicked thoughts, feet that are swift in running to evil. A false witness that breathes out lies; And he that sows discord among brethren."   

Mishlei (Proverbs) 6:16-19

     I want you to know that I did not approve of much of President Obama's time in office. His total disrespect of Prime Minister Netan-yahu was disgraceful. His support for UN Security Resolution 2334 denying any Jewish connection to Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), including even the Temple Mount, was also disgraceful. His "executive order" requiring transgender students to be allowed to choose the locker rooms and shower rooms of their choice is both sinful and dangerous.      However, there was also a huge amount of fake news attacking Obama even before he took office. We received emails in 2008 warning us that Obama was going to double the amount of taxes we pay, and that his goal was to destroy the American economy. We saw fake news that martial law would be declared before the November 2016 elections. The elections would not take place, and millions of Americans would be interned in FEMA concentration camps. However, the elections took place peacefully. The fake news then said that Obama was going to declare martial law in January, preventing the peaceful transfer of power to Donald Trump on January 20th, and of course millions of Americans were going to be thrown into FEMA concentration camps. Oh, yes... And Obama had tens of thousands of plastic coffins in which to bury his enemies. Didn't happen. Instead, the USA had a peaceful transition of power - again!

     In Judaism, it is considered lashon hara ("the evil tongue") to make false and libelous accusations against others. It is even considered lashon hara to make truthful accusations when the only purpose is to cause harm. Therefore, I would especially encourage our Messianic brothers and sisters to refrain from lashon hara, especially with the malicious "fake news" items. It is sometimes hard to tell fake news items from the truth. On more than one occasion I have forwarded an email "news" item, only to find out later that it wasn't true. And it seemed so real! Then I had to send out another email with an apology to correct my error. Try not to make the same mistake that I have made.

     Most of the fake news is political in nature. Many of the fake news sites have a particular political agenda. There are left-wing (liberal) and right-wing (conservative) news sites that specialize in fake news. There are some that are just plain crazy, such as anti-Semitic websites accusing Jews of trying to take over the world.[1] It's like Internet gossip, very enticing to many! When you locate a website promoting fake news (often deliberately!), stay away from it! There is enough garbage in the world without filling our heads with additional garbage. Spending time on these websites effects our thinking. Our brains are like computers: Garbage in, garbage out. Regretfully, even some politicians seem to gravitate to the fake news sites, and some politicians are also promoting fake news.

     There are also many reputable news websites. Make use of them! There are many important news stories that don't make it to network television. Just be cautious. Not everything on the Internet is honest. Oh, and read Petah Tikvah Magazine! I hear that it has lots of good articles, including worthwhile news items! And check out WWW.PETAHTIKVAH.COM

[1] This would be impossible! You may have heard the saying: "Wherever you have two Jews, you have three opinions." Jews have a hard enough time simply trying to govern themselves in Israel! However, there is a nugget of truth to the anti-Semitic canard about Jews taking over the world: Someday a Jewish rabbi is going to rule the world from Jerusalem. His name is Yeshua!