Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lies, lies and more lies

Fighting rumors in the Media and on the Internet takes hyper vigilance and a lot of caffeine. Left unchecked, these rumors can get out of control, because perception is fact" (Ron Bonjean - CNN).

We've all heard them. Rumors that Senator McCain told "60 Minutes" that he was a war criminal who intentionally bombed women and children in Vietnam. And, rumors that Senator Obama is a Muslim. But McCain didn't tell 60 minutes that he was a war criminal and Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim.

Both Obama and McCain have been forced to deal with an unprecedented number of smear attacks that started on the Internet, got washed through the mainstream media and passed back and forth to American households through e-mail.

Obama has been accused of not being a natural born citizen, therefore ineligible to run for the presidency. McCain has been accused of rude behavior during a vacation at Turtle Island. But it doesn't stop with the presidential candidates. Biden and Palin, V.P. candidates have also been the targets of smear campaigns.

What's the truth?

Sarah Palin did not ban books from the library when she was mayor of Wasilla, nor is she a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Trig is Sarah Palin's son, not her daughter's son.

Obama was born in Hawaii and the professor who was circulating the e-mail about McCain's rude behavior told interviewers that she did not start the rumor, she only forwarded an e-mail after she received it from a friend.

Last, but not least, Joe Biden is not stepping down so Hilary Clinton can take his place as Obama's V.P. running mate.

CNN tells us, "if you have spent any time browsing the Internet this year, you may have read rumors to the contrary."

"All these stories -- and more -- are being e-mailed to friends and family and posted on blogs."

And they are all false.

Washington Public relations expert Ron Bonjean told CNN "The best way to fight Internet rumors is to go straight to the news media and try to get a story published saying 'this is not true,'" he said. "For any site that is promoting this rumor, you want to counter-attack it with the facts."

If the rumor appears on a blog, he said, "flood it with comments from your team, or activate grassroots support. Ask your friends and campaign allies to do it."

Truth or Fiction told interviewers that Palin and Obama are the primary targets of Internet based smears. Fight the Smears has a website dedicated to debunking lies about Barack Obama.

Be a Savvy voter - check the facts before you mark your ballots.

Sources for debunking smears:

Fight the smears (Obama) can be found here:

Fact Check: (Obama is on the board of this organization) can be found here:

Truth or Fiction, a bi-partisan site, can be found here:

CNN Article "Candidates hit back hard" link is here:

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