Now, people can believe what they want to believe; got no problem with that. The problem I do have is that the wild claims in chain e-mails keep popping up in letters to the editor or in calls to the newsroom carping, “Why aren’t you printing this?’’I couldn't resist responding:
Short answer: ’cause it isn’t true. Tracking down rumors about whether Barack Obama is Muslim or Target is unpatriotic is a public service, I suppose, but it eats up a lot of hours in the day during the political season, especially for letters editor Dave Russell.
The saddest thing about what I call "right-wing spam" is that people who forward the e-mails don't care that they're lies. They have no skeptical "Sixth Sense" and don't want one. They only see what they want to see.
The irony is that in less time than it takes to attach that buddy list to the forward, you can debunk the majority of these things ... if the truth still mattered. Sadly, truth has become a casualty. Facts have such a way of messing up good propaganda.
I've seen a couple versions of Obama-the-Muslim-sleeper-agent. I expect any day now to get Obama's-Christian-church-hates-America -- forwarded without a hint of cognitive dissonance by the very same people who forwarded Obama-the-Muslim-sleeper-agent.
Outside the Bill Clinton event last week, two women in line told my wife that if Obama won the nomination, they would vote for McCain. See, they didn't like Obama's church because the choir wears African garb. His church isn't American enough.
[My wife] asked if they'd voted for Kennedy. They had. She didn't point out that, like him, I grew up in a church where the services were in a dead language and the clergy wore sacramental gear dating back to thirteenth-century Italy. They only see what they want to see.
[. . .]
One more thing. Have the people who forward these things never heard of a blind copy? Some of the mails I receive have as many as 75 addresses attached in the multiple forwards. And they wonder why they receive so much spam.