The danger of fake news

The danger of fake news

studdard-james
James Studdard is an attorney and regular contributor to this newspaper. He has just recently written a book titled, “I read it on Facebook, so it must be true.” He may be reached, if absolutely necessary, at studlaw2000@yahoo.com.

On August 28, 1963, 250,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C.  for a rally addressing jobs, freedom, and emancipation. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the first, nor the keynote speaker; he was the last speaker. No one wanted to be last for fear that the press would have long since departed. Dr. King agreed to speak last. The 17 speakers who preceded him were, to name a few, Rosa Parks, Roy Wilkins, Mahalia Jackson, Walter Reuther, Mrs. Edgar Evers, the Rev. Patrick O’Boyle, and eleven others. Dr. King had been allotted four minutes for his prepared remarks. As he began, Mahalia Jackson shouted out from the audience, “Give the dream speech.” The dream speech was first given in Detroit, Michigan two weeks prior. Dr. King put away his prepared notes and commenced to give his sixteen minute “I have a dream” speech which has become one of the finest examples of oratorical grandiloquence.
Here are a few other things you might not have known about Martin Luther King, Jr. His birth name was Michael, not Martin. Dr. King’s father had traveled to Germany and became inspired by the leader of the Protestant Reformation and anti-Semite, Martin Luther. As a result of the German epiphany, King, Sr., changed his name as well as that of his five year old son’s (MLK, Jr.) to Martin. Dr. King was an extremely precocious child and skipped grades 9 through 12 before enrolling at Morehouse College at age 15. Initially, Dr. King had no desire to pursue theology, until he met Benjamin Mays, who convinced him to obtain a degree in Sociology. Dr. King earned a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological Seminary, later receiving his PhD from Boston University. His dissertation was “A comparison of the conceptions of God in the thinking of St. Augustine and Paul Tillich.
Dr. King was no stranger to incarceration. He was jailed 29 times for acts of civil disobedience on mostly trumped charges, though some were justified. One arrest in Montgomery, Alabama was for driving 30 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. There were more serious incidences in Dr. King’s life, some even that threatened his life, e.g., in September, 1958, while signing a new book he had just written, a woman screamed, “I’ve been looking for you for five years” then plunged a seven-inch letter opener in his chest. After hours of delicate surgery, Dr. King, while recovering, said he had no ill feelings toward the would be assassin.
The King family, following Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis in 1968, expressed their doubts that James Earl Ray acted alone. Dr. King’s widow, Coretta, believed the Mafia and local, state and/or federal government agencies were involved in her husband’s murder. A U.S. Department of Justice investigation in 2000 reported that there was no evidence of any conspiratorial plot to assassinate Dr. King. Death and violence was a common and dreaded thread that coursed through the King family. On June 30, 1974, the sixty-nine year old Alberta Williams King was at the organ during the Sunday service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, when Marcus Wayne Chennault, Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two handguns and began to shoot. Mrs. King was struck and killed by one of the bullets. A church deacon was also killed. Chenault, later claimed that he had received divine instructions to kill Dr. King’s father, who was actually in the congregation, but he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer.  Chenault was convicted and received the death penalty that was later reduced to life imprisonment, due in part, to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment. Other than George Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr. is the only American whose birthday is observed as a national holiday.
A portion of this piece about this great man is slanted so as to cast an aspersion upon one of the named people mentioned in the piece. It is fake news. See if you can find it. If not, then maybe it will heighten your awareness of how easily fake news can become a damaging and corrosive reality.