Social media has a habit of getting carried when it comes to sharing false news, especially when it comes to Saudi Arabia. We saw millions of people share a false article that a man had been barred entry to Saudi Arabia because he was too good looking, then the false news that the Mufti of Saudi Arabia had issued a fatwa to call for the destruction of Churches, then the false news that Saudi Arabia lied about the moon sighting, and then the lie that the Mufti said you can eat your wife if you’re hungry.
This time the media’s fervour over the Panama leaks brought Saudi Arabia’s King into the fold. The “ground breaking” news was about King Salman who has publicly attacked Israel on numerous occasions and went as far to say that a Palestinian state is his “greatest priority”. So naturally news that King Salman paid $80,000,000 towards getting Netanyahu elected would be big news, if true.
Why is it False?
The fact that not a single respectable news outlet reported this story should have been enough to make one think twice before hitting the “retweet” button on Twitter, but that’s if people were to think before they acted. The main news source promoting this was the mouthpiece of Iran, Press TV. Again, for anyone genuinely thinking before they speak they may have spotted that Iran has been spreading lies against Saudi Arabia for years.
In the end the false news died its true death at the hands of the source quoted. Press TV and others had falsely quoted Israeli Opposition Labour Leader Isaac Herzog saying:
“In March 2015, King Salman has deposited eighty million dollars to support Netanyahu’s campaign via a Syrian-Spanish person named Mohamed Eyad Kayali. The money was deposited to a company’s account in British Virgin Islands owned by Teddy Sagi, an Israeli billionaire and businessman, who has allocated the money to fund the campaign Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” read the false quote on Panama Leaks.
The only problem with this quote is that Isaac Herzog never said it. Herzog categorically denied he had said or asserted anything of the sort. Iranian Press TV’s house of cards once again came tumbling down.
Why Do Lies Get Spread
Funnily enough these lies are spread by Muslims. The irony here is that the Muslim Holy Book, The Quran, is where Allah commands Muslims to not spread something until they have verified it.
In Surah Hujurat, Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ
“O Believers, if an unrighteous person comes to you with information, you should verify it or else you might inflict harm on a people in ignorance and then end up regretting what you have done.”
After this verse, there’s nothing more I can say about the state of journalism today except that following the above verse would solve many problems in the world of media today.