Sometimes you just have to put out misinformation and see if anything happens.
Oct. 29, 2009 Editor’s Note: I was just checking that the links work, and discovered igotmyreasons, aka Fred, deleted his blog post! Fortunately Google had cached it already (click “Cached version” link above), and I took a screen shot just in case that goes away someday too. To view the screen shot you will need to click on the image to view full size. Simply point your mouse over the graphic and click. I exposed him as the hoaxer that created the “Obama’s Prayer”, by his own admission on a Liberal leaning blog site. When he found out he was exposed he quickly tried to cover his tracks. I was going through my community and noticed a new video was recently posted called “Obama Prayer” (Click the link to view it). It is a hoax “prayer” made to see what kind of reaction it would generate. When kept in context – satire/prank/hoax/whatever it’s funny. But the author/publisher used my community as the “incubation” site to rile up some Conservatives, hoping it would spread virally and in effect make as many look as foolish as possible. When I first saw it, I thought “wow, talk about radicals“. But then looked at the source. And because I have interacted with Fred in the past (Fred is his real name), I knew something was up. So, I followed the digital trail to his blog linked above. I’m leaving the video up, as it is generating some traffic; all be it only “some”.
I understand his reasoning for doing such things: It is to show that people (Conservative specifically) generally do not “check the source” and “believe everything they read/watch/listen to no matter how ridiculous“. The sad thing is, because there are people that like to play up satire and hoaxes this way, we will never be at a point where we can be totally trustworthy of anything we read. When we read something we have to take time to verify facts our self. We have to cross reference facts for our self. We have to play editor for everything we read/watch/listen to.
Satire and “practical jokes” are fine, when kept within context; i.e. you know when you watch Saturday Night Live that what you are watching is not real. Well, most people do. You’ll remember when SNL alum Tina Fey made a guest appearance in 2008 and played the part of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, there were those (i.e. liberal bloggers) that took Fey’s remarks “I can see Russia from my back yard” and attributed them to the real Sarah Palin. It was virally spread so much so that registered voters honestly thought Sarah Palin said that! Sad isn’t it? Well at least we can still laugh at the original satire. Here’s the SNL clip for giggles.
Along the same theme, I received an email from a trusted friend yesterday about an Ericsson promotion where they purportedly are giving away an Ericsson T18 or R320 Laptop if you forward the email and include a copy to one of their so-named employees. Part of the forwarded message said “I did check Snopes – it IS legit … They’re trying to match a recent deal by Nokia“. Well this most assuredly should make me feel confident that this IS legit, right? A trusted friend forwarded an email from one of his trusted friends, who did the same and so on! I’m not that easily swayed by such offers and had to “verify the facts on my own“. So, I searched Snopes and found: www.snopes.com/inboxer/nothing/ericsson.asp which basically tells us that it is a hoax and there is no employee by that name. Not only that but the T18 and R320 aren’t even laptop models, they’re cell phones. What is upsetting is that my trusted friend now feels bad for sending a hoax email along from someone he trusted! What’s worse is that for every email I get, if there is information I think I want to pass along I have to verify the authenticity of the content I wish to forward first. While this is just good practice, it means I cannot trust anyone. Neither can you. Sad isn’t it? It’s not because our friends and loved ones may purposely mislead us, we know they won’t do that. But because they may not fact check. I get hundreds of messages a day through my email and social communities…who has the time?
So these satirists, pranksters and hoaxsters are actually making life more complicated than it has to be. It is for this reason I rarely forward emails, even the one’s that say something to the effect of “If you are not ashamed of Me (God/Jesus) forward this to everyone on your list”. Well. Hmm. I am not ashamed of God/Jesus, or to tell the World that I am a Christ follower. I just don’t think I have to forward emails to prove it. But I digress.
While Fred thinks he is doing society a favor by exposing people for their natural tendency to share he is causing a lot of wasted time. While satire is humorous, it is not when the message of satire is lost either because it was too “real” or because there was no notice that the content is satirical. It truly is a waste of time to have to fact check so many things that are believable. Know your source.
What is your experience with satire, jokes, hoax and such that are believable?