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Evangelist Franklin Graham has claimed that fake news is nothing new and can be found in the Bible.
In a Facebook post in which Graham called for a free but honest press, he defended Donald Trump's criticism of fake news.
Graham said that the US president was "saying what we all know - that the media has been lying", adding that news outlets have a habit of producing fake news.
"Fake news is nothing new-it was going on in the Bible," Graham wrote. "When Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was placed in the tomb, He said He would rise in three days.
"The Pharisees had guards assigned to watch the tomb, and on the third day an angel from heaven came and rolled the stone away. The Lord Jesus walked out of that tomb.
"The guards reported this to the religious leaders who instructed them that if anyone asked, they were to say that Jesus' supporters had come and taken the body. It was fake news to serve their own agenda."
Why is everyone talking about fake news?
- Fake news came to the forefront of international conversation during the 2016 US election
- One of the most widely reported fake stories circulating at the time was that Donald Trump had called the Republicans the "dumbest group of voters in the country"
- Fake news stories spread fast on Facebook; another fake story involving Trump was that Pope Francis had endorsed him as President. It was shared millions of times on Facebook despite not being true
- At a press conference last week, Donald Trump called the mainstream media "disgusting and corrupt" in their coverage of him; accusing traditional media of writing fake news stories about him
-On Saturday, Trump referenced a terrorist attack in Sweden that never took place. He later claimed that he had heard the story on Fox News
Graham also warned his 5.3 million Facebook followers not to circulate "false reports", adding that "Lies and untruths like we have been seeing can be a threat to our democracy".
The evangelist was one of a number of religious leaders to read a passage of scripture at Trump's inauguration ceremony in January.
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