In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Indeed, it is becoming the norm for some people that anyone who questions the authenticity of images or reports in the mainstream media is either to be vilified or accused of disinformation, and that such “Wrongthink” – as they claim – requires a crackdown. Even when one provides eyewitnesses – as his proof – when questioning their narrative, he is vilified and shunned by some of those so called intellectuals who accept everything presented or reported by the mainstream media without tangible evidence. And even when there are conflicting reports regarding an incident, the extremists in the mainstream media demand that they are blindly followed, otherwise the one who questions their narrative is accused of spreading propaganda. Anything that critically questions their narrative and demands clear proof is regarded as misinformation and considered as something that is critical of an official narrative, even when they provide no evidence to support such allegations against their opponents. Anyone who critically questions their narrative is labelled a useful idiot for such and such person’s misdeeds. Therefore, do not jump to conclusions and accuse anyone who critically questions the mainstream media, rather follow the sound principle of verification. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
[ يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُوۤاْ إِن جَآءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوۤاْ أَن تُصِيبُواْ قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُواْ عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ – O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done]. [Surah Al-Hujuraat. Aayah 6]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “This is also one of the moral etiquettes that are obligated on the people of [sound] understanding to adorn themselves with and put into practice. And that is if a rebellious sinful person informs them of some news, they should verify his news and not to merely accept it, because indeed there is great danger [in doing so] and [possibility] of falling into sin. That is because if his news is placed at the same level with the news given by truthful reliable person, one might pass a judgement based on that news and what it necessitates, so loss of life and wealth occurs without right due to that news and thus brings about regret; rather, what is obligated with regards to the news given by a rebellious sinful person is that it is verified and clarified. So, if the proofs and clear indications demonstrates his truthfulness, then it [i.e. the news] is acted upon and declared to be true; but if they demonstrate that he is lying, then it is declared to be lies and not acted upon. Therefore, in this [Aayah] there is a proof that news [given] by a truthful person is accepted, the news [given] by a liar is rejected and the news [given] by a rebellious sinful person is suspended as we have stated. (1)
Indeed, those who demand that their narrative is not to be questioned-even though they have been caught spreading falsehood on several occasions – remind us of the deceitful behaviour of the Quraish pagans. Abu Saaleh [may Allaah have mercy upon him] narrated from Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] who said that the Quraish polytheists sent sixteen men to the main mountain roads during the days of hajj and dispersed four men on each road to hinder people from believing in Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], saying, “Whoever comes to you asking about Muhammad, then some of you should say, he is a poet, and some of you should say, he is a Soothsayer, and some of you should say, he is a mad man, so it is better that neither you see him nor he sees you. And when the people come to us, we will agree with what you said to them on the roads”.
So, when this reached Allaah’s Messenger, he also sent four believers on each main road – and amongst them were Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood [may Allaah be pleased with him] – and commanded them to belie what the Quraish were saying, so when the people would go past the polytheists, they said what they said about the Messenger, but the Muslims would say, “You have lied, rather he calls to the truth, commands good and forbids evil”. (2)
Finally, here is a useful book regarding some of the misdeeds of the mainstream media.
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Zaadul Maseer Fee Ilmit Tafseer’ Tafseer Surah An-Nahl. Aayaat Aayaat 30-32: By Imaam Ibnul Jawzi. Slightly paraphrased]