Politicians are fond of saying they figure out how to vote by throwing something against the wall to see what sticks. These days, that something is poop. And the Congressomonkeys throw it not only against the wall, but at each other and us.
It’s impossible to call anyone out for a vicious rumor, a “truthy” statement, or a downright lie these days without the opposing side going apoplectic and calling you a liar, a traitor, or a fascist commie (once again folks, they are polar opposites) without knowing the first damn thing they’re wailing about.
It’s not about being left or right, conservative or liberal – it’s about being willfully ignorant or aggressively dumb. It’s hard to hold the moral high ground while criticizing the opposition as your own lobbyists people spread the same rich manure of untruths. This is not the politics of change, but the entrenchment of stupidity.
It’s Not True Until It’s on Fox News
I personally feel both sides are guilty of this behavior, but that Republicans – particularly those pinkie-raised tea drinkers – have much louder voices, are much less apt to listen to anything from anyone unless its Rupert Murdoch or Sarah Palin, and seem to take as much pride in their anti-intellectualism as they do in their local Rotary’s annual pancake breakfast.
Whenever I broach this touchy subject, I try to acknowledge that both sides are guilty and it isn’t right for either side to say dishonest and hypocritical things. I do this because I strongly believe it’s true, but also as a way to deflect claims that one side or the other is worse right up front. I almost never have much success. Too many comment threads devolve into pie-flinging matches over whose lie was bigger or whether you believe it’s “true” because Sarah or Keith says it.
For instance, I can predict that right now there are dozens of conservatives sharpening their quills and readying to let loose a flaming barrage of , “you liberal pussies are all alike”. On the left, folks are loading the trebuchet because I’m not being tough enough on the ‘baggers.
Welcome to the role of messenger.
Liar, Liar, PR Release on Fire
So today, lets let someone else address this issue. Before you immediately trash these statistics, remember they’re compiled by about as non-partisan a source as there is these days. Note that both sides have more than their fair share of half-truths and whoppers. And note that all compilations like these are never completely true nor false and are hard as the Dickens to calculate.
Here are the statistics:
According to the rumor verification site Snopes, there were 47 internet rumors about George W. Bush during his eight years in office. Of these, about 43% were true, 36% were false, and the rest were some mix that Stephen Colbert likes to call “truthy”.
By comparison, there have been 87 internet rumors about The Messiah™ during his less than two years in office. Of that number, 9% were found to be true and 68% untrue. The remainder tasted somewhat truthy to Snopes.
Of course, these statistics don’t mean much. I’m sure within the week there’ll be another analysis by someone calling this one a load of bunk. Some of the lazier folks will just claim it’s bunk without the research by saying Fox News told them it’s a constitutional amendment the commies are trying to sneak past everyone. Some, possibly the smartest ones in the crowd, will simply ignore it all because they’ve already given up.
Similarly, this survey means absolutely nothing to stemming the flood of untruths told by both sides. If you’re a lefty, it’s just confirmation of what you thought all along. If you’re a rightie, it’s another panic attack by limp-wristed liberals terrified at the notion that very loud, very angry people are “taking back the gummint”.
Although, I personally believe there’s more than a little truth to that last one, but then I’m on the “winning” side of the survey.
- Obama Derangement Syndrome Quantified (trueslant.com)
- Snopes, can’t beat myths (trueslant.com)
- Sarah Palin is writing another book (seattlepi.com)
- ConsumerMan: Enjoy a ‘foolproof’ April 1 (msnbc.msn.com)
- Roy Greenslade: Murdoch – Fox News is not biased like CNN (guardian.co.uk)
- Tea Party Survey: Old, Conservative Hate Obama, Like Fox News (huffingtonpost.com)
- Mental Floss: The Snopes.com “25 Hottest Urban Legends” (boxofmeat.net)
- At Snopes, a Quest to Debunk Misinformation Online (nytimes.com)
- Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show’ Takes On Fox News (nytimes.com)