Monday, February 16, 2009

True Facts

I swear I want to disown some people I know sometimes, all because of email.

If I get another one of those bullshit emails, breathlessly announcing some sensational observation that was inexplicably missed by the mainstream media, I’m going to pack up my flat panel monitor and stuff it right up Bill Gates’ ass. (After, of course, he pays me a nickel for every person to whom I forward the email.)

I guess finding some new message that confirms one’s biases causes a kind of bypass of common sense, or even an inability to even attempt to determine actual truth.

Look, if you send an email that’s meant to represent actual facts, it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s true, especially if it’s controversial. When you forward an email that turns out to be distorted, omitting facts, or just and out and out fabrication, it’s a reflection on YOU and you look like a twit. Note that I’m talking about items purported to be true here… I’m not addressing matters of opinion. Opinions are like assholes… so on and so forth. If you think any given politician is good or bad for the country, so be it, as far as I’m concerned. But send an email throwing around ridiculous assertions and that’s another story.

I know that I’ve damaged some friendships with the rebuttals that I’ve sent to these emails and I regret that. But this is a serious peeve of mine, especially because it’s so unnecessary! It takes me about 45 seconds to go to a fact check site like
Snopes.com or Factcheck.org and search for the topic. Neither one of these sites are partisan… they debunk hoaxes and rumors coming from all sides. There is absolutely no reason not to check something out before you sent it on.

Beyond this, one also has to realize that almost all of these “true” emails are bullshit. I’d say the ratio is 90/10 of bullshit versus truth. It’s unfortunate that with all the truth and knowledge on the Internet, there’s just as much misinformation. As an informed consumer, it is everyone’s obligation to make sure they’re part of the solution and not the problem. I know… wishful thinking.

So, in conclusion:

Barak Obama did NOT get sworn into the Senate on the
Quran.
Barak Obama is NOT disqualified from being President because of not being a
natural born citizen.
The new
US pennies or dollar coins are NOT removing the phrase “In God We Trust”.
Nancy Pelosi did NOT demand a huge 200-seat plane to deliver her and her wealthy donors coast to coast in luxury.
Also, Ms. Pelosi was NOT unable to answer a trick question about on which of
Captain Cook’s 3 trips around the world he was killed.
Leon Panetta’s daughter did NOT
pose with Hugo Chavez. (He doesn’t even HAVE a daughter.)
Photographs do NOT show
God’s hands or a Teddy bear in a cloud, a Canadian man did NOT raise an 89-pound cat, the shark is NOT attacking a British Navy diver in South Africa, and just to show that this isn’t a solely partisan screed, George W. Bush was NOT holding a book upside down when he was reading to a children’s class.
The list goes on indefinitely…

Okay… taking a pill now… look at all the colors

So please, I’m begging you, the email using population at large, for a little research first, before sending on that fantastical revelation that just burned up your inbox? Bookmark Snopes and it won’t take you more than a minute to validate your find. I’d much rather think of you as a well-read informed citizen than just another sap. Look before you send! Your friends will thank you for it.

2 comments:

  1. It always amazes me that people won't take the 45 seconds to check it out. I have one particular relative who sends me EVERYTHING. She has deleted files on her computer and downloaded viruses, all because an email told her to. I am like you - I'll check it out on snopes and reply all. People hate that, but I don't care.

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  2. I can't understand it! It takes practically no effort to determine if one of these is true or false. Almost all of them have been circulating for a while. But people don't want to know about it when the subject is something they agree with.

    So far, I haven't done the reply-all bit, but I've come close. I usually just reply to the sender and give them the opportunity to retract from their friends. Not that they usually do, but I don't want to get into a pissing contest with friends of friends. Or just friends.

    ReplyDelete

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