Were You Sucked In?

My vanity license plate reads BE N4MD.  It's my inane plea for Americans to get informed on issues of importance to us.  It comes from my personal disgust with the gossipy reading material at the supermarket checkout stand, the shallowness of television news reporting, the need for all of us to seek evidence and do our own investigations before believing the insinuations and out-and-out lies perpetrated by politicians and some media.

I recently had a Facebook exchange with folks who were claiming the President is a socialist and is taking our rights away.  These were "friends of friends" in FB speak.  I jumped into the fray, asking for the evidence of these claims.  The response was as follows, "Just like a lazy liberal, wanting us to do your work for you. You find the evidence."

Being a person with little to no sense, I tried again and got a similar response.  One should never be phased by the nuttiness in this sort of dialogue, but I was. I can't accept that there is no longer an expectation one should back up outrageous claims with evidence.

Do you recall hearing (or seeing) these claims?  Were you sucked in?

  1. Health care reform includes "death panels" that will decide whether grandma is worth saving.
  2. President Obama and the First Lady saluted the flag with the wrong hand over their -- what, lungs?
  3. The First Lady has more staff than any other First Lady.
  4. President Obama's trip to India cost $200 million dollars a day.
  5. 800,000 jobs will be lost under Obamacare.
  6. President Obama said business owners didn't build their businesses.
  7. Stimulus money was outsourced for electric cars from Finland, solar panels in Mexico and windmills from China.
  8. Obamacare is the largest tax increase ever.
  9. President Obama is coming for your gun.
  10. The President was born in Kenya (or Indonesia) and is a Muslim.
  11. The President has doubled the size of government, doubled the national debt, is the biggest spender since...
  12. The Affordable Care Act is a government takeover of health care.
  13. Taxes have gone up under President Obama.
  14. President Obama wants to tell schoolchildren to worship him.
These fourteen are just a sampling of the hundreds of lies about the president and his policies.  Yes, there are misclaims from Democrats as well.  But the sheer volume and audacity of lies -- not misinterpretations or exaggerations -- from the right compromises our democracy.  If citizens are bombarded with lies, lies that go unchecked and uncorrected, how can we expect a fair contest between candidates or between ideas?

My wish for you and your crazy brother-in-law who forwards this stuff to you?  That you demand evidence.  No longer can we trust that the Walter Cronkites and Edward R. Murrows who deliver our news have fact-checked and care about journalistic integrity.  Be suspicious of what you hear. Check it out before you share it.

The simplest way to check the facts is the fact-checking websites like FactCheckPolitifact or Snopes.  I like FactCheck but choose any of these, bookmark it and use it to verify what you hear, from either side.  Both sides get their comeuppance on any of these sites.

Like my vanity plate, please BE N4MD.