Saturday, February 23, 2008

Have you heard the latest about Hillary, Obama, Bush, and McCain?

What do the following stories have in common:
- Hillary Clinton helped free two Black Panthers accused of torturing and murdering Alex Rackley
- President Bush paid for the funeral of a 6-year-old boy who drowned near his ranch in Crawford, Texas
- Illinois Senator Barack Obama is a radical Muslim

Two things - First, I have received all of these stories via e-mail several times (and many more like them). Second, they are all verifiably false.

These kinds of things get to be particularly ubiquitous during election years. And, if you've ever received these e-mails or anything like them, then you know that the e-mails are normally sent to you and a whole bunch of other people - and you probably notice that your simply the latest group to get this thing forwarded to you. My parents even received one of these in their snail-mail (anonymously, of course).

Friends, here's the thing - when you receive one of these e-mails, the first thing you should do is go to www.snopes.com and check to see what the validity of the claim is. Now, here's the funny part - some of the worst offenders will actually claim in the e-mail that their story has been verified by snopes.com - do not believe them! Check it out for yourself.

Quick Tip: if any variation of the following phrases are used, red flags should be going up:
- this is a story you won't read in the media
- this is something ____ doesn't want you to know about
- forward this to everyone you know
Um, chances are that if you won't read it in the media it's because someone actually did a little fact-checking and found the claims to be lacking in credibility (just a thought).

If, by chance, the information you have received is completely true, then feel free to forward at will.

If, however, the e-mail is verifiably false or if it contains half-truths mixed in with innuendo and speculation, then I highly recommend hitting the “Reply All” button and explaining to everyone (in a nice way) that the information contained in the e-mail is not entirely accurate.

Here's the frustrating part - at times I have replied to completely false e-mails and I've been told by the person who sent it to me, “it may not be completely true, but it's a good story anyway.” Um, folks, that's called lying - or “bearing false witness” as it's put in Exodus (you know, one of the Big Ten!).

Look, you can be opposed to someone's policies without having to forward lies about their character.

Please, use a little bit of common sense when you see these things.

OK, I'm going to get down from this soap box now - please forward this to all of your friends, you probably won't read this in the media, it contains information they don't want you to know.

2 comments:

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limpingalong said...

I almost always delete anything that says "Forward to everyone you know" Sometimes I read them, but I don't forward. Most of the time they are the same old stuff -- mostly against someone. The elections nearly drove me nuts! e-mail after e-mail blasting this one or that one. . . well, mostly just the one. If anyone was voting for Obama I guess I don't correspond with them because I didn't get anything against McCain, nothing pro Obama, just anti-Obama stuff.

Another thing that bothers me is the rebirth of ancient e-mails concerning things like Proctor and Gamble being satanic and Madelyn Murray O'Hair petitioning Congress to ban prayer somewhere. Good trick, that, since she has been dead for years.

I love the internet but it does seem to have more than its share of idiots and most of them are sending me e-mail. I think that as soon as my share of the money from Africa arrives I'll take a trip!