Earlier this week, faithful Christians sat around dinner tables across America trying to grasp how an honorable man like Franklin Graham could raise the specter of Hillary Clinton’s “death camps” as a way of supporting Donald Trump. As avid supporters of his Samaritan’s Purse ministry, we were particularly distressed. The problem is, the news which quickly spread across the Blogosphere was not true.
The story ran late last week on The Business Standard News, an obscure parody site with an appropriately designed logo that says, “BS”. In their article, Franklin Graham is quoted as saying Christians must support Donald Trump to avoid death camps that will clearly follow if Hillary Clinton is elected. One of the criticisms of bloggers aired by “professional journalists” is that they’re not trained to properly source stories, and as a result some “news” that is not legitimate goes out in wide distribution unfiltered. Bloggers are becoming more sophisticated and professionalized — there is a healthy skepticism in the blogging community developing as a result of the 2016 election disaster.
In spite of our concerns that Franklin Graham had supported Donald Trump for all the wrong reasons, we began the due diligence process of checking into his alleged death camp claims. Throughout the process, we “discovered” there isn’t really anything about Graham that would be questionable. The problem as Don Evon explains in his Snopes.com article on this faux news story is that satire leaking into the political dialog is so believable in the environment of the current election cycle. Not only has Graham not made such claims, he is not even endorsing a candidate this cycle.
Parody sites abound, and most are well known for their biting humor and satire. The Business Standard, in producing such humor may have unintentionally defamed Mr. Graham. We were fortunate enough to have fact checked the story before posting on it. But other sites may have cut, pasted and commented before checking, and therein lies the risk of believing the first “flash posts” you see in the news cycle.