By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Some of the craziness that gets shots around the Internet (usually by chain-E-mail) can be either amusing or horrifying, depending on how seriously you take its spread.
FactCheck.org's summary of Obama's first 100 days includes three of the wildest Obama-related Internet myths.
There's the E-mail purportedly from a Rear Admiral Lou Sarosdy claiming that President Obama delayed almost to death the rescue of Captain Richard Philips from Somali pirates—and that the captain of the U.S.S. Bainbridge essentially defied presidential orders to execute the rescue. Sarosdy didn't write the E-mail and has never met a SEAL, he told FactCheck, which concludes that "there's no evidence" to back up the E-mail.
Then there's E-mail alleging that a bill in Congress will mandate "voluntary" service and that it would forbid church attendance. So yes to slavery, but no to church. Where does this stuff come from? (Paging Rep. Bachmann...) Again, not true: "These claims are false. Neither the House-passed bill nor the Senate-passed version says these things," according to FactCheck.
Finally they point to the E-mail calling for people to phone the White House and ask President Obama to veto a bill which would give Social Security to illegal immigrants. You know the drill by now: Utter nonsense.
What I particularly love especially about the latter two bits of wingnuttery is the notion that such obviously unpopular (not to mention unconstitutional) measures would (a) actually pass and (b) that the only way anyone would hear about it would be a viral E-mail. Presumably the E-mails' believers would argue that the (also mythical) mainstream media would of course hide the passage of such acts until it was too late. But ... would Fox? Any of the litany of conservative think tanks and journals?
And of course, more broadly, are there really people out there who believe chain E-mails anymore?
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