It goes without saying that there is a political fringe with the left and right, but let’s face it–the fringe right has stepped out in front and flashed the American public with the recent round of campaigns across the country. It’s not posted yet but I beg you to watch the first half of the Rachel Maddow Showfor November 4th as she goes through one right wing fringe conspiracy theory after another including the lunacy of a video proposing that the host is in fact a vampire. This is important not for the sake of politics but for the sake of showing how people end up believing in hoaxes.
What struck me was the point being made by Maddow that the right wing news media was living in a vacuum. The fact checking is being done by saying, “I read it on the internet,” which means nothing at all. What is happening is that Republicans are verifying their information by talking to other Republicans and they are getting it wrong. I’m not saying that a right wing news source can’t deliver facts, but when they purport that Muslims will be exempt from “Obamacare” maybe a quick check at Snopes.com would be worthwhile to clarify the truth. Even a simple dispute of why Snopes or some other fact checking source may be wrong in their assessment would be quality opining instead of biased whining. Instead, Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh (the holy trinity of stupidity) are repeating nonsense and their viewers are eating it up because they don’t have the intelligence to question their heroes.
It’s not easy to tell someone they’ve been suckered, but I don’t care which political party you’re with–if you’re an intelligent person you will double check a story before buying into it wholeheartedly and then let the person know who relayed the story to you that it is a hoax. I’ve done this several times with email hoaxes from my wife, relatives and co-workers. It certainly will not make you a popular person. My wife now checks email stories sent to her by simply typing “[Email Subject Header] hoax” into a search engine and seeing what appears because she’s been fooled a couple of times and hates it when I’m right. She even had to tell a couple of friends they were wrong and dreaded doing it, but felt better in the end that she wasn’t adding to the problem.
If you are Republican, you can’t let fellow Republicans buy into conspiracy nonsense otherwise your party looks like a bunch of idiots. You have to “man-up” and say hey, this is misinformation and we’re better than that. We may disagree with Obama on healthcare, but yes, he was born in Hawaii and he’s not trying to secretly escort Muslims into the USA. Politics are a mirror into how religion works. No matter how ridiculous the belief, it is a herd mentality and once the mind accepts the belief then facts from outside sources are ignored. The current crop of Palin led Republicans are one big example of blind faith. Some of their points are valid concerning tax policies and privacy issues–but their leader is Sarah Palin!
Rachel Maddow may also make the same mistakes too and I’m not suggesting that she is above these kinds of errors in thinking. After all, she runs in liberal circles which is the same problem we discussed with right wing circles. I do think after her recent examination in the Nov 4 episode that she would be determined more than ever to get her facts right the first time around.