I have been a political junky most of my life. I started watching every nightly newscast (back when we had a whopping 4 channels) when I was 8 or so. And being somewhat active and outspoken, and with a penchant for playing devils advocate- I have ended up on all sorts of email lists.
Pretty much since Obama was elected, but rising sharply in the past few months, I have been getting a lot of chain emails from the right- (far, far, far more then from the left or center by at least 10:1) you know, the ones that urge you to pass this important information on to others.
Now here’s the thing- I spend hours fact checking all these emails. (thank you goolge scholar!)
So- I am truly alarmed at what clearly seems to be an orchestrated program of lies from the right. Now I am not saying the center or the left are pillars of honesty- they have their problems to. But it is far, far different from what I am seeing coming from the right.
I am seeing two disturping trends from the right. One- is outright fabricated issues- such as this weeks claim of “obama giving away seven resource rich Alaskan islands to Russia”. And on researching the facts become clear- and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Obama. The islands in dispute are just off siberia- far closer to Russia then Alaska, and have been under Russian control for decades and decades. The only claim to them having anything to do with America is a single sailor claiming then in 1891- a claim never accepted or registered by the state department at the time or since. In the 90’s the (VERY far right at the time) alaskan legislature raised a fuss- and the Alaskan Suppreme Court Shot them down- followed by the state Department under George Bush and Colin Powell who said outright america had no claim to them. This issue, as it was, was settled once and for all in 2003. Until now- when the right is making it an issue- and claiming Obama bears the blame.
The other issue that concerns me is the very calculated manipulating of facts. Such as the chain email from a week or so ago that started off with claims about the rise in gas and grude oil prices under Obama. After much research it became clear that gas and crude oil prices had actually reached historic highs under Bush- and had a huge drop as the world sighed in relief in the brief months after Bush had been defeated/Obama had been elected. But this email chose to use numbers from exactly that period as representative of prices under Bush, and likewise used the recent spike due to the issues with Iran for the period to select numbers representative of those under Obama. A careful analysis shows neither president did great in regards to gas or oil prices- but Bush clearly fared much worse.
And I can;t help but wonder just what it is the people behind these campaigns think of their adherents? The only conclusion I come to his that they think they are stupid- and are so full of hate/bigotry/racism/moral superiority that they will blindly believe whatever they are fed.
I will be the first to admit that truth can be illusory- things are rarely black and white. But the evidence suggests this goes far beyond such debates, and is a calculated ploy to control those who operate on blind faith.
As someone who has questioned everything I have ever been told, and routinely challenges the “Evidence” until I can say it is valid…I am not sure whether to be disgusted…or afraid.