Conspiracy Theories!

4 Jul

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans (North Americans, if you are in the Southern Continent . . . <smile>.  Course then I don’t know where to place Canadians and Mexicans.  Well, you guys get the intent of my words!  Not being exclusionary, just celebrating my country!).  

Anyhoo, the best contribution I can make today is to give some counsel about the frequent conspiracy theories that are popping up all over cyberspace (isn’t that what cyberspace was invented for?  Ha!).  They are on both sides of the political spectrum, but the ones most often sent to me are on the right, and are targeted against the U.S. president and his party.

We often need to fact check things before we forward them onward to others.  How do we do that?  

To begin, snopes.com has some pretty good interactive ability.  If you can’t find a rumor by searching Snopes, post that rumor to them and they will check it for you and email you back!  Not too shabby, eh?

On the other hand, some folks don’t trust Snopes either, as they regard them as part of a conspiracy  . . .  

Okay, then do this:  cut and paste.  Grab a key phrase from the post that you think might be a false rumor.  Paste it into a google search (or your own favorite search engine).  Run a search on it.  

If all that pops up are other similar publications saying the same thing, you have found yourself an example of circular reporting.  No real news source has published this rumor, so it is probably false.  

Of course, there are dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorists who will assert that the very fact that no mainstream media outlet has published that rumor is proof that it is true!  Well, think about that.  Mainstream media hasn’t published a lot of things today, including the end of the world and the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.  Is that proof that those two things are also true?  (hint:  conspiracy theorists use every data point to tighten down on their conspiracy.  You can never disprove it to them with anything).  

Hope that helps.  The main thing is to not forward rumors that are unverified.  Yes, we all must fact check because it is the moral thing to do.  If you are a Christian, God says bearing false witness is a sin.  That includes forwarding rumors from someone else, unchecked.  If it comes from you, your integrity is on the line . . .

We all make mistakes from time to time, but let us try to minimize them.  If we are too busy to fact check, we are too busy to forward on that rumor . . .

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