May 6, 2009 in Opinion

Smart Bombs: Misinformation pandemic

By The Spokesman-Review
 

It’s always interesting to check in with factcheck.org to see what strains of virulent misinformation are metastasizing in the nation’s blogs and e-mail inboxes. One of the following claims is true. Can you guess which one?

A. President Barack Obama intervened to delay the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from the clutches of pirates for four days.

B. Obama paid for Hamas affiliates to emigrate to the United States.

C. Eighty-four members of Congress have been arrested for drunken driving, 71 of them cannot qualify for credit cards, 14 have been arrested on drug charges and 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted businesses.

D. Congress is on the verge of granting Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.

E. Illegal immigrants cost the government $338.3 billion a year.

F. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has failed to pay property taxes on his home.

G. The stimulus bill includes $5.2 billion for ACORN, the community organizing group.

H. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded a 200-seat jet for personal use.

I. Obama was not born in the United States.

J. Congress wants to implement a health system like those in Great Britain and Canada.

K. More than 90 percent of recovered crime guns in Mexico come from the United States.

L. U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has joined Democratic senators in putting forward a bill to review the dangers of soot or black carbon to public health and the environment.

Let’s review. A and B are false. C is false and was also untrue when all of that was alleged 10 years ago. D is false. E is an exaggeration. Studies conflict, but most put the cost of illegal immigration at a fraction of that. F, G, H and I are false. In fact, factcheck.org has looked over Obama’s birth certificate. J is unfounded speculation. A conservative interest group launched an ad making that claim, but there are no bills that specify health systems that would mirror those countries. Obama doesn’t want a government-run plan. K is a false claim made by Obama.

That’s right; you had to go to L to find the correct answer. Yes, it is true that Inhofe, who has called global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” and suggested that Al Gore’s claims are “full of crap” has signed on to a bill that seeks to curb black carbon.

So does this mean Inhofe is a convert to the Green Team? The bill does say, “Black carbon … is thought to be the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.”

Not likely. He explains that soot is a particulate, not a pollutant. Hey, whatever rationalization gets him to a smaller carbon footprint is fine by me.

Smart Bombs is written by Associate Editor Gary Crooks and appears Wednesdays and Sundays on the Opinion page. Crooks can be reached at garyc@spokesman.com or at (509) 459-5026.


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