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Fight The Urge!

Fight The Urge

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By Mickey Spencer

As humans, we’re all tempted to automatically believe any story we hear that supports a belief we already have. And since that story agrees with our beliefs, we tend to have no problem passing the story along to others.

However, with the convenience and immediacy and widespread availability of the internet, we need to be even more aware of the number of urban legends and hoaxes that are being spread around the internet (through websites, blogs, social networking sites, and email).

With no doubt, I’m sure that each of us have inadvertently passed along a story via one of those means that either agreed with our already present beliefs or it came to us from someone we regarded as a friend (and therefore reliable). By the way, even your friends get fooled by this stuff too, so understand that the fact it came from a friend adds no more credibility to it than if it came from a stranger… especially if your gut tells you it sounds a little fishy.

One of the things you’ll learn about left-wing people /liberals is that when someone presents facts to them disputing a story they’ve been spreading is that they will call that person a racist. That’s all very odd in that the story itself (nor the facts used to dispute the story) usually has nothing whatsoever to do with race. But we as a society have been trained that the ultimate way to get someone to be quiet and say nothing else on the topic is to accuse them of being a racist. In today’s politically correct world, calling someone a racist is more effective than any other way to get the average person to refrain from saying anything else.

But we on the right can be just as unreasonable. When someone considered right-wing/conservative is confronted by someone having facts that dispute the story being spread, they tend to call the person with the proof a left-wing/liberal.  Of course (and I know this hurts to hear), that makes us no better than those on the left.

Both groups need to understand that not every story you hear or read is true, no matter how much it seems to agree with what you already believe. Further, we all need to understand that a good portion of the rumors/hoaxes/urban legends that people spread were introduced by people from “the other side” just to see how gullible people can be to believe something that is totally made up… simply because it supports beliefs that group already has.

So we all need to do ourselves a favor. When someone passes along a story to you, take the time to check the story out. This includes stories that are politically charged as well as ones about missing children. I can’t tell you the number of times people have sent me the same missing child story claiming the child is on the Amber List and nearly always using the same license plate number. I’ve even had people argue with me that they personally have spoken with the family that day. Nonetheless, the story has been proved to be false several years ago. But some folks (the ones who will argue it’s true) are literally just trying to see how many people they can continue fooling with the story again.

Below, I’ve included several links to some recognized sites which will help you do your own investigation of the stories you read that people have been passing along.

http://www.snopes.com/

http://urbanlegends.about.com/

http://www.scambusters.org/legends.html

http://www.truthorfiction.com/

http://www.hoaxbusters.org/

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/

http://internethoaxes.blogspot.com/

http://www.spcug.org/hoax.htm

http://www.breakthechain.org/

I know a lot of you are totally convinced that snopes.com or other sites are left-wing/liberal sites and therefore they can’t be believed. If that’s how you feel, I’d recommend you go back and read the beginning of this article again. But just in case you’re still not convinced, I included several sites that I’ve used over time.

Let’s do us all a favor and improve our integrity by checking out the veracity of stories before we instinctively spread them ourselves.

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