And then they screamed “Witch!”

It seems these Has Matthew Hopkins returned? At least you could be forgiven for thinking so.

Witchfinder General

He acted as the English Witchfinder General between 1644 and 1647 and had more people executed during his time and in the total of the previous 160 years.

Matthew Hopkins, Witch-finder. Wellcome L0000812
See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It didn’t take much for a woman to be accused of being a witch and once the accusation stuck, the fate of the woman was pretty much sealed.

Of course, if someone wanted to get rid of a rival in love, or hated another person, the easiest way to do it was to accuse them of being a witch, then let what passed for justice take its course.

The state was swift, decisive and vicious in the punishments they served on the people.

This was shown to great comedic effect by the Monty Python team in their film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Fake News

The modern day equivalent seems to use the phrase “Fake News”. It seems if a news outlet reports something that is factually correct, but that they don’t like, they get accused of pushing “Fake News”.

When was the news anything other than fake?

To think the news was ever reported without any filtering or biasing is naive, to say the least.

The Real Problem

The real problem I feel exists with news reporting is the casual injection of opinion. This is done in a much subtle fashion using phrases like, “Some say that….”. It is a way of skewing reality or the facts, that is legally defensible, though morally indefensible when the package claims to be straight reporting.

When you are later able to disprove the story being presented as straight reporting, the news outlet has that get out clause ready. “We didn’t say it was true. We said some people thought it was the case.”

For me, that is when news crosses over the line into propaganda and if you look for it, you will find it happens more often than you would think.


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