I have been in skirmishes over the all-important Facebook with folks who have been right-leaning since just before Obama took office. I have heard some of the most egregious, unfounded claims regarding the left-leaning crowd, Obama, and lightbulbs, of all things.
In case you haven’t figured it out, this is a post on politics, so if you’re not down for that jelly, you can leave now — Fair warning.
The reason I feel compelled to write this is not just because the aforementioned claims. Nor because I find myself to be a progressive thinker in regard to politicking. I feel compelled because I’m sad. I’m sad that so many people don’t know how to use Google.
This seems like a trite reason to blog, I know. But let me break it down for you :
A family member sends me a text message, and they say ‘Obama is a socialist foreigner’ in so many words. While I didn’t know the answer for sure, I went to my BFF Google for help. It took me no more than 30 seconds to find enough information to make said family member feel a little silly for coming at me out of the blue like that, and with such a silly claim. They say ‘Well, I got my information from an article from the Associated Press. I would trust them before I trust the internet.’ I told them that’s fair. But I pointed them to a Snopes.com article about that very ‘article’. See, there was a chain mail going around with this ‘covered up’ article from ‘AP’ (sorry for all the quotes, but it’s to infer that those items lack legitimacy). It claims that Obama is from effing Jupiterian moon Callisto and that he is a direct descendant of Karl Marx in his ideology. Yes, I made that last part up, but it is sadly just as accurate as this whole ‘AP’ BS (not in quotes). Using the information from Snopes, I was able to help debunk this chain mail.
The whole point I’m getting at is it only took a couple of seconds searching on Google to reveal that what they read in an email was a titanic load of elephant jizz.
A second example comes from the Occupy movement. I posted an article describing how at Occupy Seattle, a pregnant woman was kicked in the stomach by police, hit with a bike, and was hit with the pepper spray. She miscarried days later. Now, before you draw your conclusions about the incident, just know that I’m not trying to carry a debate about that article here. What I want to get to is this : Someone commented ‘How many have died so far in the Occupy movement? This could be the first that died at the hands of police.’
Then things get hairy.
Right-leaning fact maker-upper posts in response ‘Yes. There have been several deaths at Occupy Portland. They have been drug overdoses.’ I wasn’t crying bullshit, but I wanted to do some fact checking. One minute forty-five seconds later, I post a response that came from a bevy of sources via a pointed Google search. In said response, I point out that there have been no deaths in Occupy Portland. There had been three overdoses to date, and none of them resulted in death. She backtracked, indicating that she read there were deaths from overdose in the article she read. That’s like saying ‘Well, in my version of Aladdin, Genie gives Aladdin a prostate exam. It’s super rare.’
Two lessons :
1 ) If it sounds ridiculous, or if you’re moved by something that is purported as fact, check it. Use Google.
2 ) If you’re about to make a claim that you’re not sure is true or not (Read : If you’re about to make shit up), check your own facts. Use Google.