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But it's just an average week at Snopes, the esteemed debunker website.

Snopes is committed to neutrality, so the rightwing designation is mine. I counted any "legend" on the Snopes Top 25 list that directly attacks Obama, Democrats, liberals, etc. or enflames the culture wars. Most are false and they are often wrongly attributed to credible sources. Here are my selections, including Snopes' ranking (based on circulation):

2* Cap and Trade Energy Bill imposes regulations that could keep
      you from selling your home

3* Obama cancels National Day of Prayer

7* Obama mocks Pledge of Allegiance etc. attributed to B. Hackett's widow

8* Obama (or Clinton) orders the firing of cattle guards

9* Constitutional amendment needed to make members of Congress live by
      the same rules as regular US citizens

10* 17M in Stimulus funds saves the job of Michelle Obama's brother

19* Upcoming movie to portray Jesus as gay

20* Texas attorney claims that all personal health care decisions will be
        made by federal bureaucrats

24* Obama directs issuance of US stamp honoring Muslim holiday

25* 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney rails against "government stooges" giving
        money to "crack addicts for squirting out babies", etc.

Now that's a pretty strange world, isn't it?  I'd be darn upset if I had to live in it.  But lucky for all of us, reality is not created by wingnut imagination.

Just in case you have an appetite for coming attractions, check out Snopes' What's New:

Pretty much the same proportion of rightwing screeds to assorted bogus warnings/weird inventions.  (NOTE: There's ONE leftwing "legend" that claims Walmart has authorized the US law enforcement to enter its stores to arrest immigrants.

Bottomline, this underworld of hate and disinformation deserves a lot more attention.  Infecting personal distribution lists and FB pages, this stuff is even more extreme/outrageous than the rantings of Glenn Beck, the phony postering of the GOP, and distorted missives from the pulpits of religious cultural warriors.  And it's harder to combat.  As a newbie Kos diarist, I'd like to help focus some dKos brain power on this.  More thoughts to come in future diaries - hope you'll join in.

Originally posted to seethruit on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 08:41 AM PDT.


Have you received viral wingnut emails?

6%11 votes
13%22 votes
11%18 votes
19%31 votes
6%10 votes
7%12 votes
34%55 votes

| 159 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Actaully, it was my sister (22+ / 0-)

    It got so bad that I had to cut her off entirely. We have hardly communicated in over 5 years. :-(

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

    by QuestionAuthority on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 08:43:17 AM PDT

  •  I live in the West. (16+ / 0-)

    How do you fire a cattle guard?  

    It's a metal structure placed across a road that keeps cattle from wandering.


    My dogs think triciawyse is smart and pretty. They think I'm a strange, frumpy woman wth limitless snacks.

    by martydd on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 08:47:32 AM PDT

  •  Dems lose the war of emails. (9+ / 0-)

    I receive a continual stream of emails that while not clearly political, tend to reinforce the conservative world view. Of course I get the political ones too.

    I could count the democratic ones I have EVER received on one hand.

    I honestly think one of the reasons Obama won was that his win in the primary was so unexpected and the race was so close that they did not have enough time to viral emal smear him.

    All thru the primary I received numerous right wing anti Hillary ones,and ones knocking the Clinton adm even though it was 8 years ago but as soon as Obama won those stopped and it seemed like only a trickle of anti Obama ones were able to be composed before election time.

    Not so in 2004 when I received an ungodly amount of Anti Kerry ones. One that especially upset me was a series of pictures that showed Bush cutting brush, in his airforce outfit and other "manly" pursuits and the other showing Kerry in a feminine light.

    I kept thinking "no democrats must cook up emails" because where were the ones of Bush as cheerleader vs Kerry as soldier??

    I don't think Dems realize how much these emails influence the electorate, especially older and low information voters or they would be turning them out too.

    •  2004 election (4+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't say that Democrats never cook up stuff like that.  One I recall from 2004, which i was seeing everywhere, was the "President Bush is re-staffing the Selective Service boards in preparation for reinstating the military draft in May of 2005".  It was utter bullshit, but I was getting e-mails about it practically every day.  A friend of mine was doing campus registration drives at the time, and she told me that probably the most motivating factor for the college students was the belief that Bush was bringing back the draft.  

    •  Wingnut e-mails (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yet another liberal, sc kitty

      It's an electronic form of blowhardism. Right-wing blowhards bloviate, and then everyone else hopes he eventually shuts up. If you disagree, then you get blamed for causing a disturbance. They seem to have the effect of letting the wingnut talking points be distributed, without allowing different points of view, as the group often views responding to them as a threat to the group.

      I voted that I had not had wingnut emails, but after I voted, I remembered that I had. I used to be on some list servers (that goes back a ways!), and there would be the occasional e-mail forwarded about the evils of secularism. I disagreed with the e-mail, and I had the whole group fighting for causing a disruption. The forwarder hid behind a claim that is wasn't their, statement, they only forwarded it. Which is nonsense, when you choose to pass it on, it becomes your words.

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:14:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dems have a hard time taking this stuff seriously (0+ / 0-)

      I totally agree about the under-recognition of how damaging these emails are.  Because they're sent from trusted friends and relatives, they have heft that MSM, even Fox News, doesn't have.  Their origin is an implicit validation - "this is what my friends and family think & feel, it must be OK for me too!  I think these toxic viral emails account for the persistence of beliefs about Obama being a Muslim, born in Kenya, anti-American, etc.  And some are just plain SICK.  One of the worst I've received is PROUD TO BE WHITE falsely attributed to Michael Richards.  It does a great (horrible) job stoking White aggrievement.  The insidious part is that I know a few people who got it and said something along the lines "I know it's a little over the top but it still has a point..." This is deeply toxic stuff.

  •  Actually you forgot that Obama wants to ban (10+ / 0-)

    fishing cuz real Mer'cans enjoy it.

    "These are people of the land. The common clay of the new west. You know.....morons!" -The Waco Kid

    by fedorko on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 08:50:25 AM PDT

  •  Best antidote to these e-mails (8+ / 0-)

    Research their veracity and origin, and then send out an e-mail (reply all) debunking them.  Works like a charm.

    Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess singin' drunken lullabies--Flogging Molly

    by dalfireplug on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 08:58:07 AM PDT

    •  Really? That works for you? (8+ / 0-)

      I recall round about 1990 I fired up my Mosaic browser & downloaded a treatise entitled - Top Ten Rush Limbaugh Myths Debunked - and felt a rush of optimism that the internets were going to severely limit this clowns' longevity.

      Of course, I was sorely mistaken and precisely the opposite happened - the folk who eat up this drivel don't give a flying fuck about the truth.  

      •  I've found this has been successful for 2 reasons (10+ / 0-)

        Firstly, some of the recipients are not wingnuts and appreciate receiving accurate information, and secondly, the senders have stopped polluting my in box after they have been publicly called out on lies.

        Obviously, there is far from a 100% success rate, but many recipients of this garbage have been grateful to be providing the truth.

        Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess singin' drunken lullabies--Flogging Molly

        by dalfireplug on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:11:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I had one friend that I kept replying with info (4+ / 0-)

          and a link to snopes.  She and others on her list would often thank me but then she would send the same kind of crap without checking it herself over and over again.  I even got a reply from one of her friends saying 'you're so smart'!  Seriously?  I gave you the link and snopes is easy to search.  I had to keep rewording my reply to try and keep good will while saying why the hell don't you look it up before you forward!  After 9/11 when she started sending anti-Muslim stuff I finally told her to take me off her mailing list.  I also managed to keep that civil enough that we're still on speaking terms but it wasn't easy.

        •  I write a flame and "accidentally" send it Reply (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:


          I make it so long, loud, self-righteous, and packed full of juicy and nutritious data and web links that it drives some of the recipients absolutely insane. Presumably they beg the sender to omit me from the list, and the nut-mail stops.

    •  Nothing works on some of these idiots (9+ / 0-)

      A woman in my office used to send around scare e-mails (not necessarily political) and several of us would jump right back with debunking links to Snopes, showing the exact text of the e-mail that she was promulgating. But she said it came from someone in her church so it had to be true (even though the text on Snopes was exactly the same as the one she was sending around). But, in the end, I did get off her contact list.

      You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

      by yellowdog on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:07:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your tag line, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My father heard that from a former missionary before the Korean War, It always stuck with me.

        Tea Parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

        by J Edward on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:17:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As to "it came from someone at church" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Philpm, raincrow, elginblt, seethruit

        This is the closing of a looooong piece about all these FWD:FWD:FWD rumors, from a Christian perspective.

        ...he told the early Christians to put away vices, one of the primary ones being gossip. ... That term, by the way, is understood off the pages of the New Testament as tale-bearing, tattling, slandering — the acts which should not be attached to any Christian."

        Gushee pointed to multiple New Testament principles pertinent to the matter of spreading urban myths — loving one’s neighbor and one’s perceived enemy, not participating in gossip, not judging others and observing the Golden Rule.

        "In general, we need to help Christians act like Christians in public life and not just in private life, and not to get sucked into the polarization, partisan idolatry and demonization so common now in media and government," Gushee said.

        Legalism: strict conformity to the letter of the law rather than its spirit

        by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:23:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Impervious to facts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        Amazing how difficult this stuff is to squelch. I always respond to the sender (not Reply All) with Snopes link but the serial offenders don't seem to care. Some have taken me off their distribution list to avoid being caught. It's almost like a guilty pleasure for them.  Recently, my mom (a serial offender) sent me back a bogus email that attacked Snopes!  

    •  Works for me (4+ / 0-)

      Every time I've responded to wingnut emails, I've copied the entire email distribution on the original and two things happened:

      1. The idiot who sent the email took me off the distribution list, and
      1. Numerous people - usually strangers - on the distribution list sent me thank you notes, either to me personally or sometimes to the entire list.

      One of the insidious things about these is that because they're broadcast to everyone the sender knows even vaguely - sometimes more than a hundred people - recipients seem to assume that a lot of people endorse them. It turns out most of the recipients think the emails are stupid, but not enough people point that out.

      We are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

      by badger on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 11:17:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This came yesterday. (4+ / 0-)

    The Patriot Caucus
    A message to all members of The Patriot Caucus

    Fellow Patriots,

    Be prepared to be outraged.

    Apparently, Obama decided to remove the U.S. flag from all American support installations in Haiti.

    So far, we’ve spent $179,883,065 in humanitarian assistance to Haiti. We’ve sent our military there to help distribute food and water, to
    help find the missing, and to help rebuild the ravaged nation. But
    Obama is afraid that we’ll be considered “occupiers”, and so, the
    United States flag is not to be flown over any US installation in Haiti.

    That came yesterday.
    I joined the local Tea bagger group since I missed a bus rally only 2 miles from my house.  I would have been there for pictures for here had I known.  

    Tea Parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

    by J Edward on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:12:53 AM PDT

    •  from USA Today on the flag flap (3+ / 0-)

      ....The Obama administration says flying the flag could give Haiti the wrong idea.

      "We are not here as an occupation force, but as an international partner committed to supporting the government of Haiti on the road to recovery," the U.S. government's Haiti Joint Information Center said in response to a query about the flag.


      Army Col. Billy Buckner, spokesman for Joint Task Force-Haiti, a group representing various Obama administration agency heads, said the decision not to fly the American flag was made out of respect as guests of the government of Haiti.

      "It is no mystery that U.S. forces are on the ground, and we proudly wear an American flag on our right sleeve," he said. ...

    •  SIGH (0+ / 0-)

      I guess from the comment below that this email is not false - just a vehicle for stoking up outrage and aggrievement.

  •  In the last two years (8+ / 0-)

    I started responding back to these emails, debunking them, complete with snopes links, etc.  What happened as a result was one of two things.

    The senders either quit sending me those emails, but continued to send them out to others anyway.  Or, in two cases, the sender responded back to me angrily saying that they did not care what snopes had to say.  

    The bottom line is many of these people believe this stuff because it affirms their preconceived notions about inferiority of people not like them.

    "in the wake of Sept. 11, a frightened nation betrayed one of its core principles -- the rule of law -- for the fool's gold of security." Leonard Pitts

    by gulfgal98 on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:50:12 AM PDT

  •  i always answer wingnut emails (5+ / 0-)

    and forward to all.

    lots of times i'll get a response from someone on the list blasting me, but i don't care.  sometimes i get a thank you.

  •  Wow, HATING the new frontpage layout (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, turn Virginia blue

    Where do I complain?  The new layout eats up 'WAY to much vertical space.


  •  It keeps their radical base fired up and (0+ / 0-)

    it's working.  The biggest problem for them is that most of their recipients don't even read the emails, they just forward them.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 01:04:24 PM PDT

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