Fradulent Chain Email Reveals Hidden Opportunity
If you consider yourself to be a trusting person, you might want to stop and check your sources before forwarding that next chain email to everyone on your contacts list.
This week I received yet another in the long litany of chain email hoaxes being circulated about town. It had the following heading and lead:
Military Losses, 1980 thru 2006
“Whatever your politics, however you lean, however you feel about the current administration, this report should open some eyes.”
Yes…well, it would if it were true.
The piece, which was obviously written as neocon shtick, opines a great deal about how important it is to decipher fact from fiction, about bias in the media, and about how that bias leads to a presentation of facts which are inconsistent with the reality of the universe. That sounds pretty good, – until you get to the “facts” used to support the assertions of bias in this tripe-laden polemic.
The email cites (ttp://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf) as its reference in attempting to make its case of agenda driven reporting. Next, it lists statistics for total military fatalities for each year from 1980 up through 2006. It also shows who was president for those years. These stats are supposedly taken from the report cited at the url listed in this post. Using the stats contained in the email, the writer makes the case that there were more military deaths during the Clinton years, than during the Bush Jr. years. Moreover, it adds that such an egregious oversight constitutes a massive mainstream media cover up. Finally, (and this is the amazing part) the author of the email invites readers to check out the linked document for themselves. However, when you do, you find that the statistics as presented in the email are almost totally bogus.
After a protracted rant and the citing of these fabricated stats, the writer makes the following hilarious statements:
“I hope that during the time between now and November, that (sic) intelligent Americans can decipher the facts from the spin and the spinners from the leaders; those who seek even more power from those that seek justice, the dividers from the uniters.”
“Over the next months let’s be good listeners (yes, Hillary we are listening) and see and hear who tries to divide our nation; and who wants to unite our nation. Who wants to control how our money is spent and who wants our money spent the way we would spend it. Who seeks power and who seeks justice?”
“Who spins the facts and who is genuine.”
Those last couple of paragraphs are pure genius. Why? Because the writer practically begs us to check his sources, both in his lead and in his concluding remarks. He begs us to go beyond our biases, begs us to do more than just believe his presentation because we want to. Maybe that is why the author has the following tag in his leading paragraph, “this report should open some eyes.”
But with the volume of propagandistic email I see like this on a weekly basis, it is evident that people’s eyes aren’t being opened. Instead, their preconceived notions are being reinforced, and that’s a sad commentary in itself. We should know better. Yet, somehow, we don’t, probably owing to our human propensity for believing what we want to believe. It’s just all too easy to buy into a concept if it already fits our biases.
I suppose that really is the lesson of that email. Don’t believe everything you hear or read, especially, if you agree with what is being posited. We’ll do ourselves, our friends, and our family a huge favor if we check our facts before hitting the “forward” button.