Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Constant Battle - Crackpot claims, Paranoid Conspiracy & Malicious Lies

      With viral email claims, not just skepticism but “outright cynicism is justified.  Despite clear evidence to debunk some of these claims, and the far-removed-from-reality assertions in others, they still make the rounds. Many not only twist the facts but also peddle pure fabrications, urging recipients to forward these “shocking” revelations to all their friends. Yet despite all good common sense, people do pass along these malicious attempts to deceive. Why?
  • Desire to accept information that conforms with one’s beliefs and to reject facts that don’t.
  • Most people are so locked into a particular world view that they tend to reject any information, no matter how well supported, that contradicts their cherished assumptions.
      We have summarized what calls the most egregious and most asked-about viral claims of 2012.
      Much of what FactCheck received lambasts the president or Democrats. Maybe that’s to be expected for whomever occupies the White House, but FactCheck can’t give a definitive reason for why the viral chatter is more conservative in nature.

Facebook Falsehoods
      Dueling graphics on the debt — one conservative, one liberal  BOTH WRONG.

Obama Bashing
      As the vitriol level rises, so, too, does the egregiousness of the false claims.
-          Obama was giving Alaskan islands to Russia
-          Obama plans to eliminate private retirement accounts and create a “national retirement system.”
-          Obamas had to “surrender” their law licenses to avoid ethics charges.
-          Obama gave stimulus money to China to build U.S. bridges.

‘Death Panel’ Never Dies
      Fear and disdain for the Affordable Care Act have spawned rather absurd email messages
-          In 2013 major procedures for anyone over the age of 75 would have to be approved by “locally administered Ethics Panels.”

Vote Rigging? Not So Much.
-          Tagg Romney owned electronic voting machines in the pivotal state of Ohio.
-          Military absentee ballots were delayed and not counted, which swung the vote for the president.

Conspiracy Theories
-          Obama is instituting a police state. He has issued more than 900 executive orders, some of them creating martial law.
-          DHS was creating a “standing army of government youth” known as FEMA Corps.

Distortions on General Motors
-          YouTube video claiming the automaker was becoming “China Motors” using taxpayer bailout

A Rare Glimmer of Truth
-          Treasury Department’s inspector general found that $4.2 billion was paid in 2010 to “individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States.”

Some false viral claims continue to circulate,
-          Affordable Care Act instituted a 3.8 percent “sales tax” on homes.
-      Obama wants to ban the possession of guns through a United Nations treaty.

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