Showing posts with label Obama-Muslim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obama-Muslim. Show all posts

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land (revision)

"R. Kelly Garrett randomly surveyed 600 Americans about their online habits, and whether they'd heard—and believed—a number of widespread rumors. He found that the Web does expose us to more rumors. But the Web also delivers more rebuttals,...
            (Technically true, but most can't/won't find them)
"E-mail’s more insidious. Because you’re more likely to believe that rumor forwarded by cousin Rob. And the more you believe something, Garrett says, the more you want to share it with your social network."
                      [see below for source, c2011]
[This is a revision of my article from 8/29/2011 about email as a viral disinformation carrier at that time, before Facebook and Twitter increased the problem by an order of magnitude; lies such as that Obama was born outside the U.S. - which Donald Trump loudly proclaimed until it made him part of the political conversation]

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Another email making the rounds, or it was last December (2010) courtesy "":
In a press conference last week Obama was not
wearing his wedding ring nor was he wearing his watch.
When noticed, his staff said his ring was out for repairs.                                                                                                      
No reason was given for the missing watch.
So it’s just a coincidence that Muslims are forbidden
from wearing jewelry during the month of Ramadan???

Can't possibly be that, because although he hasn't gone to a
Christian church service since entering the White House, we
know he's a committed Christian 'cause he said so during the campaign.
to see why every word of it is false, starting with the fact that there is no Muslim prohibition on wearing jewelry during Ramadan.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why Would a Right Wing Source Make Up a Phoney 'Charles Krauthammer' Speech? And What Might This Say About Right Wing Forwards?

I started this blog with far broader, and more exploratory and less argumentative aims than just trying to combat "Right Wing Forwards" and their misinformation. But I suspect their effect is far beyond what most people imagine, and there is a near-total lack of media focus on them.
I've recently noticed a subclass of the Right Wing Forward which may shed some light on them. Many of them seek, in one way or another, an air of legitimacy through putting outrages statements in the mouths of people who never said them. But one type of RMF makes up whole speeches or editorials by right wing celebrities. Why not let these people speak for themselves?

There is an email centered on a purported intimate speech by Charles Krauthammer (the original that I received is at, which is shown to be made-up at:

Summary of the eRumor:
A forwarded email with comments by journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer about President Obama.
The Truth:
Charles Krauthammer has issued a statement about this eRumor saying it is "neither accurate nor authoritative."

He said the email is "somebody putting his own ideological stamp on and spin on my views."

Krauthammer said, "One giveaway of the superimposition of someone else's views on mine is the rather amusing use of phrases that I never use. To take just a few examples randomly: 'God forbid,' 'far left secular progressive,' 'this is the first president ever who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies!' 'no country had ever spent themselves into prosperity,' and, the real doozy, 'states rights.'"

He said his views are clearly spelled out in a series of columns that can
be found on his web site.
My mother was rather impressed with the email. One clue to why someone faked a Krauthammer speech is one of her comments that she'd read some of his articles but "always found it a little confusing what side he was on".

So it seems like Krauthammer for people who don't read Krauthammer and wouldn't, because they'd find him too abstract or something. But they've heard of him as a great intellectual, and are primed to be impressed by his thoughts if they can understand them.

From a 2007 Christopher Hayes article in The Nation titled "The New Right Wing Smear Machine":
For a certain kind of conservative, these e-mails, along with talk-radio, are an informational staple, a means of getting the real stories that the mainstream media ignore. "I get a million of them!" says Gerald DeSimone, a 74-year-old veteran from Ridgewood, New Jersey, who describes his politics as "to the right of Attila the Hun." "If I forwarded every one on, everyone would hate me.... I'm trying to cut back. I try to send no more than two or three a day. I must get thirty or forty a day."
I think part of the key may be the need for volume: what seems to be effective is such a constant high-volume flow of these messages that people will (1) come to rely on them as an alternative news source (for stories that the mainstream media is "suppressing", like that Obama is a Muslim), and (2) even to those who are somewhat skeptical, there is just so much, and it seems to be stuff that friends of friends of friends simply transposed from some source, that some of it is bound to be true.

The web site has archived, by my count of some weeks ago, 1285 emails of this general type. I believe somebody has a need to crank out a lot of stuff to make this work, so all sorts of shortcuts are taken. It helps that they are mostly false, because if they were true, they wouldn't be "adding" to the general public knowledge. All sorts of articles, speechs, chopped scrambled, or just collections of thoughts that someone thinks a celebrity might have said -- Jokes about Obama that Jay Leno never actually made, have to be thrown into the mix. If Obama is accused of having committed some outrageous behavior (with "photographic proof") on Memorial Day 2009, the same picture and context (except some details) will reappear on Labor Day, 2010.

[to be continued??]

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Comments on another "Proof" that Obama is a Muslim

Owing to my extreme lack of free time, I am posting an email to my "not really right-wing Mom", essentially unedited. The email that she found alarming follows my comments

It's hard to deal with on a point by point basis. To find any stats on how often wives accompany husband heads of state on state visits is difficult. I suspect they frequently don't. It's not clear what she'd do there -- probably be kept out of public sight as are all women in Saudi Arabia.

There are a lot of dubious "facts" that I find very difficult to check on, but why is it believable that Obama is a Muslim? If he was, there would be much more solid
evidence than this coming out. Why does a Muslim attend a Christian church for a decade or 2? Are there scads of stories of his refusing pork on campaign stops? No, and there are stories of him sampling exotic ham in a New York food shop. It seems to me you have to believe Obama was invented just to become the U.S. president and do all the terrible things some people imagine he will do. That sort of thing just doesn't work except in thriller novels and movies He's been in the U.S. since he was a young boy, but they can't find a couple of dozen credible people to say they saw him perform this or that Muslim activity? The very fact that they have to resort to such convoluted logic to "prove" he's a Muslim is practically a proof that he's not.