If the sorry state of today’s mainstream media isn’t enough to convince you of the death of journalism and the rise of “fake news,” consider a story that appeared online in a publication called The Press.
The headline of this piece seems to say it all: “Former church leader who used hypnosis on boys faces jail for abuse.” Since many people won’t even bother to read more than the headline of this alleged story, the message will be clear–church leaders are using hypnosis to lure young boys into who-knows-what-kind of awful acts. And once again, hypnosis is cast as the villain (along with Christians, for good measure).
But let’s take a closer look at the alleged story. It seems a retired Methodist minister will be jailed after he was convicted of using hypnosis on four boys in Great Britain and then sexually abusing them. No matter what your opinion of hypnosis or Methodists, obviously such behavior cannot be condoned.
But wait! There is a valuable piece of information that is not reflected in the headline, nor in the first nine paragraphs of this story. To wit, buried in the 10th paragraph (in other words, way down there) is the statement that not one of the victims said they were actually hypnotized, “but they froze in surprise and horror at what the respected church leader was doing.” .
So, there was no hypnosis here, at least no effective hypnosis. This leads us to the startling conclusion that the boys were NOT hypnotized into committing deviant acts. Yet if one reads only the headline and the first nine paragraphs of this smear job, one would get the mistaken impression that it was the evil influence of hypnosis that was to blame.
Why would any legitimate media outlet write a story in such an irresponsible way? The answer is simple: without the bugaboo of hypnosis, there isn’t much of a story. As it is, however, the fundamentally dishonest way in which this story is written (in order to achieve an agenda) is the very essence of “fake news.”
Don’t let the fear-mongering and dishonesty of such media outlets fool you. Hypnosis continues to be a valuable clinical application that brings health and healing to millions. .