Sunday, July 15, 2007

E-mails and Lies

I received an e-mail today maligning the ACLU. As I always do when receiving such e-mails, I checked it out at snopes.com. This time I discovered the allegations to be completely false. In fact, the people they quote don't exist.

These e-mails frustrate me to no end. First of all, there are my friends and relatives who forward them to me without checking to find out if they are true. Whenever I see an e-mail like that, I question it's veracity. Are my friends and family, who I consider to be fairly intelligent people, so easily duped that they not only believe whatever they read but they become morally outraged by it, and then forward it on, without finding out if it's true? Or can they just not be bothered?

But what really ticks me off are the people who write this crap in the first place. Look, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and they are entitled to express that opinion. I'm all for freedom of speech. But WHY, WHY, WHY do people think it is OK to write complete falsehoods and spread them around via the Internet in hopes of gaining support for their opinion? It's called slander, is it not? and I would like to see these morons taken to task for it. Unfortunately, it appears to work. People read this dreck, and forward it on. I would think that the fact that people make up lies about these things would WEAKEN their cases. But apparently the public is so easily hoodwinked, that it doesn't. Why aren't people out there asking "why do they have to make up lies to make the ACLU look bad? Maybe I should look into what the organization REALLY does?" (I'm using the ACLU as my example because of this e-mail, but obviously there are forwards about politicians, and religious leaders, and other organizations, etc) They might find they agree, or that they disagree. But they don't bother to look into it at all. They just forward the e-mail!!!

Arg.

I love the Internet. Obviously. But it frustrates me that so much false information can be spread in such a short amount of time.

So please, I beg of you, fact check things before you pass them on. Speak up when you discover that false information is being spread (I always send the link with the facts to not only the person who sent the false e-mail, but any other address I can see that the false info was also sent to).

There are enough true things that we need to be up in arms about in this world. Let us not muddy the waters by believing everything we read. Please think and RESEARCH before you forward that e-mail or link to that post - whether you agree with its point of view or not.

15 comments:

Beck said...

Oh, the ol' weird email thing. One of my aunts always sends on those emailed "warnings" about danger - rape happens more to long-haired women! there are hypodermic needles in the ball pits! - and I always grouchily sent back the Snopes links.
I don't know about the political leanings of such things - I don't tend to get that sort of forwarded email. But if you want to know about the dangers of stopping at gas stations, I'm your gal.

Veronica said...

I think it would be a mistake to assume that only one political persuasion sends out this dreck. I have read more than a few bloggers that demonize conservatives without any reference to fact. Or how about when both sides start comparing each other to nazis? That's always high intellectual discourse.

painted maypole said...

I have taken out the part where I put forth that perhaps conservatives put out more of this dreck, because after a discussion with my husband I have seen the error of my ways (but obviously I didn't delete it quickly enough, because 2 people have already responded to it) People of all political bents are clearly guilty of this crap. We need to take a stand against it whether it "furthers" our point of view or not.

thirtysomething said...

Amen sister.

Tracey said...

Oh I know. I love Snopes. But people aren't always good (obviously) and I guess I'd rather they were using their evilness on the internet with rumors than out robbing banks or something.... but still: phhhhbbbttt on them.

slouching mom said...

Hear, hear.

Christine said...

i love snopes.com

and i hate those stupid email. i get them mostly from my super conservative step uncle who apparently hates muslims, democrats, non-soldiers, and the aclu.

creative-type dad said...

My family is the king of these chain letters.

I get about 12 a week for something about Bill Gates junior wants to send me on a trip to Cancun or something stupid like that, if I forward the thing to 1 million people.

stacy michelle said...

three times, from three different people, i was sent an email about how the world is coming to an end because the new dollar coins don't say "in god we trust" on them. i didn't even have to check it out; i already knew it was wrong because when i originally heard about the coins i thought it was cool that "in god we trust" was written on the edge of the coin rather than on either of the faces. i replied to the emails with "THIS IS NOT TRUE!" in big bold letters and a link to the us mint site. i wonder if the people i so gently corrected forwarded on my message of if they just allowed the spread of misinformation...

seriously. haven't we all been taught since we were kids to not believe everything we hear/read??! of course, we all know that the internet is gospel, right?

(this is one of those times i wish for an easy way to portray sarcasm in situations like this...)

:)

thailandchani said...

Agree with you completely. One of the worst things that ever happened was the "forward" option on email clients.

I get plenty of them, too, and delete them without reading them. First of all, after paging down through lines and lines of people's email addresses, there are usually forty hashmarks that makes the text all wompus.

As for forwarding crap.. is there anything else that people forward?


Peace,


~Chani

niobe said...

It continually amazes me how people will believe pretty much anything.

nomotherearth said...

I generally view forwards of that ilk as "chain mail" and refuse to forward them. I always doubt an email unless the source is trustworthy (and verified). Comes from working in the news industry.

Magpie said...

I love Snopes and I've done my share of returning those skanky emails with a Snopes link.

furrow said...

But don't we need to know about how reusing water bottles will kill us, or about the gangs that drive with headlights on in the daytime and run people who flash at them off the road? Who will keep us safe, if not good ol' Aunt Susan or Uncle George?

Don't you know that snopes is a player in the vast liberal conspiracy?

ewe are here said...

I hate the chain mail stuff, too. Just hit delete.