A great many people write emails to the Flyer to gripe about something, or to suggest cover ideas, (hint, a story about your church soccer team probably isn’t going to make it), or pitch a “great story” about a product that will remove oil spots from your driveway. Some are even complimentary.
I monitor three email accounts: the one at the bottom of this column, my personal gmail account, and one for email@example.com. The “letters” account gets by far the largest collection of urban myths and political spam.
For example, just this week, I got a passionate plea that we “never forget” the Holocaust, because in Great Britain, due to objections from Muslim citizens, they are no longer teaching about it in public schools. How long, the email asks, before we in the U.S. can no longer teach about the attacks of 9/11? Yes, it’s a slippery slope, that one. It’s also completely untrue.
Also, did you know that President and Mrs. Obama always fly their dog, Bo, on a separate plane when they go on vacation? This is because the Muslim religion doesn’t allow animals to be flown on the same plane with their owners. Or something. I don’t know. It’s almost too stupid to repeat here, and yet, this lie gets forwarded and re-forwarded (“If you are a patriot, PLEASE email this to everyone you know!!) around the country.
Here’s a quote from another: “Obama’s problem is that he does not know who the enemy is. To him, the enemy does not squat in caves in Waziristan, clutching automatic weapons and reciting the more militant verses from the Koran: instead, it sits around at tea parties in Kentucky quoting from the U.S. Constitution.” Tell that to bin Laden, Jethro.
If I have a minute to spare when I get one of these things, I go to Snopes.com, search out the myth in question, and send the link that debunks the story to “reply all.” I doubt it does any good. Once a “birther,” always a birther, I suppose. If you are willing to believe that the two Honolulu newspapers that printed the Obama birth announcement given to them by a local hospital in 1961 — not to mention the government of the state of Hawaii — are part of a vast conspiracy that somehow knew this interracial baby would become president, you’ll believe anything.
Speaking of that, I note that Mitt Romney is embracing the support this week of bilious uber-birther Donald Trump. Guess it wouldn’t do any good to send Mitt the URL of Snopes.com, would it? I’m guessing not.