Bible burning at Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon? Does truth matter?
A friend of mine recently posted an article on her Facebook page that she took from a conservative-leaning internet site that showed masked protesters in Portland, Oregon pouring gasoline on a fire. The article that accompanied the post said that BLM protesters in Portland were burning Bibles and American flags, inferring that BLM protesters in Portland hate God and hate America.
I have lived in Portland for over 45 years and still keep a home there, and was sad to read that some Portlanders might be using the BLM movement to express a hate for Christianity and America. Not knowing if this Bible and flag-burning story was true, I asked several people who had been eyewitnesses to the Portland BLM protests if they heard anything about Bibles or American flags being burned. No one that I asked knew anything about Bible or flag burning. I also called KGW, KOIN-6 News, and the Willamette Week and Oregonian newspapers to find out if this story was true.
After reaching out to these Portland news outlets, a reporter from the Oregonian metro news desk returned my call. This is a summary of what the Oregonian reporter told me.
The Oregonian metro news desk had been covering the Portland BLM protests since they first started. The reporter told me that the paper was aware of the internet stories about Portland BLM protesters burning Bibles and flags. That the Oregonian shares news tips and intelligence with other local and national media outlets and that neither the Oregonian or its affiliates could confirm that Bibles or flags had been burned during the BLM protests.
The reporter told me that during the month of July, Christian groups were observed passing out literature (possibly Bibles) near the Mark Hatfield Justice Center, and that there had been several incidents of small fires being set in the park blocks adjacent to the Justice Center. The reporter affirmed that no one from the Oregonian or its affiliates had witnessed Bibles or flags being burned; and as fires were started BLM protesters were observed extinguishing the fires and trying to prevent vandalism and graffiti.
The internet has several conservative-leaning web-sites that resemble legitimate online magazines and newspapers. However, if you do a deep dive and look behind the professional looking internet page, frequently you will discover that there is no substance to the organization sponsoring the sites.
No credentialed news department; no independent journalists; no requirement to adhere to the standard of confirming the accuracy and truth about a news story before it is published; the organization has few or no employees, and no physical location. Nothing! Just a few people that have a political agenda, who are skilled in desktop publishing and know how to copy and paste a bogus story.
Many of the conservative-leaning websites (including some Christian Evangelical sites) are nothing more than facades that were created to promote the narrative that Democrats hate God, hate America, and that the BLM movement is a Marxist front organization.
As we approach the final 90 days before the November election it’s likely that many false and misleading internet and cable news stories will be circulating. A word to the wise. Be skeptical when reading or listening to news stories that are not being reported by established credentialed news organizations. The story may not be true.
FREDERICK I. LEHR