Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hello, State Department?

I was just reading your guide on "How to Identify Misinformation," and I'd like to report a conspiracy theory.

You write: "Does the story claim that vast, powerful, evil forces are secretly manipulating events? If so, this fits the profile of a conspiracy theory."

A crazy story just like that has been going around for years! People on TV keep talking about a vast and powerful network of evil-doers, who are plotting to destroy us because they hate our freedoms. The conspiracy theorists say the evil-doers are hiding everywhere, waiting to strike, and pose the single biggest threat ever to our way of life. It's ironic, because many of these same conspiracy theorists argue we must give up our freedoms preemptively, just to protect ourselves! But they also claim the evil-doers are on the run, and have no hope of ever defeating the United States. 

I don't get it.

You also write: "Is the story startlingly good, bad, amazing, horrifying, or otherwise seemingly 'too good' or 'too terrible' to be true? If so, it may be an 'urban legend.'"

I know one like that, too! These same people on TV, they keep blaming just one of these evil-doers, a one-legged fellow by the name of Zarqawi, for nearly all of the bombings and factional battles in Iraq - even for the killings carried out by US-backed death-squads. As befits an urban legend, this Zarqawi character has had a series of breathtaking escapes and was wounded several times. But he never dies and he always comes back to do more crimes, just like Freddy Kruger!

Uh oh, I remember another one. The same people say a bunch of hijackers magically confounded long-standing air defense procedures and made all of this country's top military leaders sit on their hands during the 9/11 crash-bombings. Can you believe that?

One of them, I think his name was Colin Powell, told the whole United Nations an urban legend about how Saddam Hussein had giant stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and was going to use them against the United States any minute now.

Maybe you can help these people get over their delusions. Thanks!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No that my good man, is a superb post!

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry - "NOW"

4:17 PM  

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