If Mark Twain was still alive, I’m sure he would of said, “There are lies, damned lies and things you read on the Internet.” This is of course quite obvious to anyone who has been using the Internet for more then a few weeks so you would of thought that by the end of 2005 people would of learned by now.
But no, people still forward chain letters around which have factual errors which are obvious if you spend 60 seconds to do a quick search on Snopes, Truth or Fiction? or Break the Chain. Is it so hard to bookmark these sites and use them to see if the email you got from some friend or family member but written by some unknown individual is true?
Are we as a society, so desperate for our side to win an argument that we’re willing to forgo common sense and basic research so that we can claim that we didn’t know that Oliver North never mentioned Osama Bin Laden in 1987 or that there are two people in the world with the name “Mohammed Atta” just so that we can argue Bush is doing the right thing? What does that say about your argument when you rely on lies to support it?
One thing I’ve noticed that over time, my responses have become more “colorful” (some might say even acidic) over time. In the past, I’d politely point to the original sender (never to the entire list) out that it wasn’t true and include a link to Snopes and ask that they check there first in the future. Of course that didn’t work, so I’d start to just delete them, hoping that everyone else who got the email was smart enough to do the same. But over time, I’ve found myself perversely drawn to pointing out to everyone (in my patented sarcastic way) just how stupid these chain letters are, not because I think the sender will learn, but because it’s the only way for me to vent my fustration.
So I say to everyone reading this (all 3 of you that is), don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.