Comments on Truth column

This is the column as it appeared on the Voices page on Sept. 3, 2014, as well as the comments (the most ever for one of my columns) posted on Arkansas Online.

Believe it or not

In search of truth

By Brenda Looper

This article was published September 3, 2014 at 3:30 a.m.

One of the biggest complaints I get is, “You let (fill in the blank) say something that isn’t true, but you wouldn’t let me say something that is most definitely true!!!!!!!”

OK, maybe not with that many exclamation points, but you get the point.

You don’t have to log onto Facebook to see the utterly unbelievable things people believe. There’s a reason I stay far away from that particular corner of social media, and it’s not just because I’m not all that social.

The Onion has made a name for itself with often-brilliant satire, but also in making the gullible believe just about anything. And yes, at least once in recent history, this newspaper was taken in by an Onion-originated “news” story, so it should be no surprise that more than a few people have been taken in as well.

The blog Literally Unbelievable even combined Facebook reactions to Onion articles, and they’ve had no dearth of material.

Most of the time, the letters we receive are pretty easy to deal with, either being totally opinion and thus easy to expedite, or having fairly easily checked statements of fact mixed in. Others take more work, with a lot of things to be checked out, so they take longer to process.

And then there are the letters that have statements so over the top that I check them out myself because I want to prove to myself that something so outrageous is or isn’t true.

It should be no surprise that many of those involve Barack Obama, which I’m sure is why some people seem to think I’m biased toward all things liberal (or “librul,” as one caller said). However, I’ve also tossed several letters that contained myths about people such as George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan; if anything, I’m biased toward truth.

I know, strange coming from someone in the “mainstream media.”

One of the biggest myths about Obama is his religion, which is, according to him, Christianity (since about 25 years ago). However, some refuse to take his word for it, or that of others in a position to know. Numerous polls show that many think he’s a Muslim; though in at least one poll, more believed he was Jewish than Muslim. We get letters about his religion all the time, and most of those claim that he’s Muslim.

Religion is a very personal thing, and if someone says they’re a Christian and have been baptized, as far as we’re concerned here, they’re Christian. Assessing the quality of someone else’s Christianity calls to mind a certain directive from the Bible, but we won’t get into that here.

That’s far from the only myth spread about Obama. One that popped up in a letter we received last week was that two Harvard Law Review editors had been paid off to keep quiet about sexual advances supposedly made by Obama when he was president of the law review. In checking that out, I was led to a blog called the Kansas Citian, which published the original report.

Or did it?

When you click on the embedded link in the story, you’re taken to a 2011 Politico story about sexual-harassment claims made against Herman Cain. And then you start to see that it’s the same story, but with Obama’s name and circumstances replacing Cain’s from a real news story–so not only is it plagiarism, it’s libelous. That doesn’t matter to some, though, as several commentators and blogs took it as truth and ran with it, even despite the comments on the blog that point out the truth.

And people wonder why I’m so skeptical.

Political scientist Brendan Nyhan, along with Jason Reifler, found that the more fiercely partisan tend to dig in further if the truth doesn’t square with what they believe, what they call the “backfire effect.” That makes corrections, which reliable news sources will readily do when necessary, often ineffective.

This discomfirmation bias (related to confirmation bias, in which one seeks out that which confirms beliefs) poses a particular problem because of misperceptions in political discourse, says Nyhan. Bring up politics at the next family reunion if you want to test it out; just have the police on speed-dial.

Whether it’s the nonexistence of WMDs in Iraq or a massive Benghazi cover-up, the most partisan among us will never let their beliefs be shifted regardless of how much evidence of the truth is presented.

So really, it doesn’t matter that a fact-check will prove or disprove something; there will always be a group of people who will hold on to a misperception with their dying breath. Any proof to the contrary will just make them believe the falsehood even more strongly.

And yet I’ll keep fact-checking. I’m either nuts or a glutton for punishment.

Could be both. Ya never know.

————v————

Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com.

Comments on: In search of truth

WhododueDiligence says… September 4, 2014 at 8:35 a.m.

Untruthful narratives are easily fabricated, while fact-checking takes time. Political chain emails, for example, are almost always declared misleading or full of falsehoods when analyzed by fact-checkers. But a credibility rating even worse than Putin’s doesn’t stop some people from falling for them and spraining their finger on the forward button.
*
Disinformation pieces are like gaudy signs in the desert proclaiming “Oasis- Exit NOW”. So you thirstily pull off onto the next shifty sand ramp and if you have the energy for a reality check, you find nothing but mirages. The reality check’s good news is you’re not between a rock and a hard place………but the bad news is that you came up bone dry and crawled to a stop in Dry Bone Gulch.
*
Reputable fact-checkers like Brenda Looper provide reality checkpoints of actual thirst-quenching oasis within the blinding dust storm of blowhard politics.

3rdWorldState says… September 4, 2014 at 9:02 a.m.

I was listening to AFR yesterday and there were about four callers in about 20 minutes that called in, speaking for a fact BO was a Muslim and was helping the IS. And that Brian guy (radio host) agreed with them, and more than that, yes it gets crazier, said that BO only helped the people in Iraq (on top of that mountain) only when he found out those people were devil worshipers! No lie. You can fact check that one easily enough.
It’s sad people in our society are so easily fooled. And the worst part, in the sake of religion.

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 4, 2014 at 9:20 a.m.

Obama is a Muslim and did provide training for ISIS in Jordon.

WhododueDiligence says… September 4, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.

That Kool-Aid isn’t real. It tastes like……sss….ssst….ssspt……sspit…….sand.

Slak says… September 4, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.

FACT:
Under Islamic law, children born to Muslim fathers are automatically Muslim from birth.
See Islamic Family Law at Emory U. (or anywhere else, for that matter – facts are facts)
ht tp://aannaim.law.emory.e du/ifl/index2.html

HotSpringsLawyer says… September 4, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.

Islam is a religion. You are not a Muslim unless you follow it. You might be an Arab, or a Turkman, or a Kurd, or a Persian, and also be a Muslim, but Obama is not.

People still sometimes say that Hitler was a Jew because his grandmother may have been. Think he was Jewish?

Slak says… September 4, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.

heh, you don’t get to decide, HSL. Unless you are issuing a fatwa, LOL.
Stop applying your western lawyer logic.
To Islamists, children born of a Muslim father are Muslim. You don’t have to like it, but it is a fact.

Progressive says… September 4, 2014 at 11:52 a.m.

Slak,

It does not matter what Muslims believe. What matters is what Obama believes. Obama spent little time with his father. He seems to have been most influenced by his maternal grandparents–good Kansas folk (one of whom was descended from Arkansans). Quite a few people from around Carroll County are related to Obama. His ancestors are buried in Dinsmore.

Slak says… September 4, 2014 at 12:02 p.m.

Progressive, it may not matter to you, but it does matter to the Islamists.
I know what Obama believes. He believes America is broken and needs fundamental change. Fundamental, as in foundational. I do not agree with him. Maybe that’s all that matters.

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 4, 2014 at 12:14 p.m.

In other news. …
~
https://ww w.google.c om/search?q=ISIS+funded+by+obama&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=np&source=hp

3rdWorldState says… September 4, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.

DDKK – If Bo is Muslim, you’re an idiot.
Well, what do you know, BO is a Muslim. But seriously, you’re an idiot.

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 4, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.

Thanks 3rdWorldState for your type of discourse, thus I win the argument as with Slak LOL.
~
Now Google “Michael Obama” and see where it takes you.

HotSpringsLawyer says… September 4, 2014 at 2:37 p.m.

Po, it is refreshing to see that you have adopted Muslim ideology and world view so relatively late in life. I doubt he could get into a Mosul mosque on the strength of your argumenet, though. And if he did, wouldn’t they view him as an infidel, punishable by death, for becoming a Christian?

Slak says… September 4, 2014 at 2:50 p.m.

Po??
I think it is ok under sharia to pretend to be a Christian during jihad if you are pursuing a higher purpose. For instance, it is OK to lie to the people of a besieged city who appeal for mercy in the name of Allah. Fool them by lying and saying they will be OK and entice them out for the slaughter.
“When you lay siege to a fort and the besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be disregarded than that the security granted in the name of Allah and His Prophet be violated.”
h ttp://en.wikipedia.o rg/wiki/Islam_and_war

ARMNAR says… September 4, 2014 at 4:14 p.m.

Give up the pedantic BS, po.

And DKKKA, no one has consumed more Kool Aid than you, buddy.

I’m guessing Newsmax is your home page.

Or is it WND?

ARMNAR says… September 4, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.

I Googled “Michael Obama.” It led me to pages so full of idiocy, only a brain-damaged cretin would put any stock in them.

Oh…wait…

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 4, 2014 at 5:09 p.m.

Goo, I can’t help your search engine on the net. Must be a cheap one.
~
Newsmax? I have to look into that one. Thanks for the lead.
~
As for someone being a pedantic, it is better than a bitter kid such as yourself goo.

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 4, 2014 at 6:01 p.m.

Well okay, try “Michael LaVaughn Robinson”, see what you find.

ARMNAR says… September 4, 2014 at 6:18 p.m.

BTW…”being a pedantic?”

Oy.

FreeSpiritMan says… September 4, 2014 at 7:12 p.m.

The right wingers here are so easily led by Newsmax, WND, the Blaze, Fox, 700 Club, Hal Lindsey, John Hagee they are like the lemmings following the one in front of the to the cliff.
If ignorance paid money they would be billionaires.

 

ARMNAR says… September 4, 2014 at 10:19 p.m.

Hey, FSM…it’s easier than thinking for themselves, isn’t it? Nobody is lazier intellectually than a Teabagger.

RonalFos says… September 5, 2014 at 8:03 a.m.

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Winston Churchill

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 5, 2014 at 10:38 a.m.

Well the truth is getting its pants on now.

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 5, 2014 at 10:41 a.m.

Google “Down Low Club” and see what one will find.

3rdWorldState says… September 5, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.

Dkkk – if you win an argument after someone calls you an idiot – that must be a safe place to be, seeing how it must happen all the time. What u and pobutt believe are so outside of normal thinking….
You either pretend to believe this stuff or you seriously have a paranoia issue, and a complete lack of understanding of the most basic assumptions of living in a civilized society. You believe the same kinds of crap the wackos in the Middle East believe about America-Weird plots based on zero facts. You win again!

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 5, 2014 at 11:03 a.m.

http://ww w.youtube.com/watch?v=Et38_Ufv-Jw

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 5, 2014 at 11:11 a.m.

http://itistreason.wordpress.c om/2011/11/19/more-on-obamas-gay-connections/
~
To much out there to say different.

ARMNAR says… September 5, 2014 at 4:06 p.m.

Wow…a new low, DKKKA.

3rdWorldState says… September 5, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

I know people like DKKK – weird folk. You’ll be sitting around drinking beer, and there’s those three dummies talking all this crap, and your thinking, “only sh&t those people are crazy.” No talking to them. Their answer to everything is …drop a bomb on them…
Cant argue with that answer.

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says… September 5, 2014 at 6:20 p.m.

One would think that ARMNAR would be tickled pink, to have a Gay president in his life time.

ARMNAR says… September 6, 2014 at 12:19 a.m.

Yay! That was really stupid, dKKKa!

cliffcarson says… September 6, 2014 at 8:37 a.m.

SLAK

What’s wrong with being born a Muslim? What really matters is what you become as a person and whether you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Anyone, including a Muslim, can become a Christian by accepting Jesus as Savior.
And there is only one Religion on Earth that accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior. That religion is called Christianity and no one is born a Christian. They must make a decision for Christ and reject all other religions or Gods, it matters not who they are because after they accept Jesus they become a Christian – no longer a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Atheist, etc.
They cease to be a Christian when they accept other Gods and Religions into their life after choosing Christ

Progressive says… September 6, 2014 at 9:31 a.m.

DDDKA,

You are just ridiculous. Obama is as straight as an arrow.

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 10:32 a.m.

Cliff, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being born Muslim and I agree completely with your conversion comments.
I wonder why all the heads exploded on the “born Muslim fact”. Are all those folks prejudiced? Do they think there is something wrong with being born Muslim?

ARMNAR says… September 6, 2014 at 10:42 a.m.

Po, cut the crap. You know exactly what you were doing with your comments.

Dontsufferfools says… September 6, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.

The fact is, slak doesn’t know the difference between a fact and a belief. Fact is, Obama is a druid who hangs out at stonehenge.

ARMNAR says… September 6, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.

LOL!

I’m sure FOX will insinuate that very thing today.

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 11:15 a.m.

DontSufferFools speaks from the toothless one.
Give a verified reference for your druid comment. LOL!!!
Prejudices revealed, more heads explode, ad hominem attacks begin, red herrings fly. LOL!!!

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.

Reiterate
It is a fact that Islamists believe children born of a Muslim father are Muslim.

ARMNAR says… September 6, 2014 at 11:29 a.m.

Reiterate
Tiresome pedant.


Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 11:36 a.m.

Meaningless extant

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 1:21 p.m.

So are the sophomoric responses any better, ARMNAR? Just try to stay on point with Brenda Looper’s premises on truth.
Haven’t we have learned “truth” can be relative, subject to the cultural frameworks from which objects are lensed? Isn’t one man’s devil another man’s savior? What would our history books say about Jews if Hitler had won? The winner DOES get to write history. Archeologists just get to argue about it.

Dontsufferfools says… September 6, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

You’re moving goal posts slak. You start out saying Obama is a muslim. When challenged, you say muslims believe a baby has the religion of his father. When challenged that a belief is not a fact, you say “it’s a fact that muslims believe…” The point of the column was to discredit intentional diversionary flak like slak’s.

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 1:40 p.m.

moving goal posts?
You’re putting words in my mouth.
Which is worse? Everything after your “misrepresentation” is meaningless.

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 1:41 p.m.

FACT:
Under Islamic law, children born to Muslim fathers are automatically Muslim from birth.
See Islamic Family Law at Emory U. (or anywhere else, for that matter – facts are facts)
ht tp://aannaim.law.emory.e du/ifl/index2.html

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 2:08 p.m.

I’ve never said I thought Obama is a Muslim. For you to lie and say I did, and use that as a form of denigration, demonstrates your own prejudice. In fact, I don’t think Obama’s religion matters. I think what Obama says he believes, matters. I don’t think America is fundamentally broken. I don’t think America needs fundamental changes. Here is where what we believe matters. America is great. Plenty of folks want to come here and be Americans.

ARMNAR says… September 6, 2014 at 3:25 p.m.

zzzzzzzzzz……

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 4:27 p.m.

LOL

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 4:45 p.m.

Dontsufferfools aptly demonstrates the lensing effect. Dontsuffer expected crazy racist comments and made them up in his own mind when circumstance did not provide them. I think this is what Brenda refers to when she describes:
“Whether it’s the nonexistence of WMDs in Iraq or a massive Benghazi cover-up, the most partisan among us will never let their beliefs be shifted regardless of how much evidence of the truth is presented.”
And all the more is the shame as I consider the revealed truth of:
“So really, it doesn’t matter that a fact-check will prove or disprove something; there will always be a group of people who will hold on to a misperception with their dying breath. Any proof to the contrary will just make them believe the falsehood even more strongly.”
Proglibs think conservatives are a bunch of Neanderthal luddites. Any proof otherwise is easily ignored. Likewise, conservatives think proglibs’ beliefs are pure naiveté; pie-in-the-sky fairy tales to keep the children quiet. File this under “why we have gridlock”.

Dontsufferfools says… September 6, 2014 at 4:55 p.m.

Anyway, po/slak nonsense aside, Obama is a druid.

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 4:59 p.m.

Zzzzzzzz…

Dontsufferfools says… September 6, 2014 at 8:10 p.m.

po, you got two things right in a recent post: “I don’t think …” and “I don’t think …” Meanwhile, your Manichaean world of conservatives vs. proglibs is tiresome beyond measure. Go read a book and get some new ideas.

Slak says… September 6, 2014 at 9:30 p.m.

*blink*
Brenda Looper wrote this column on which we are commenting and the major point she made was the effect of partisanship on belief vs truth. You just called that perspective, the effect of partisanship, boring. Why are you commenting on this column? Not an ad hominem attack against you, actually curious as to what drew you to the subject of this column to begin with.

FreeSpiritMan says… September 6, 2014 at 10:32 p.m.

Slack ….what America is, is not what it should or could be with the blessings we have been fortunate to have for 200 years.You speak as if we have reached all we can become as a country and it is only down hill from now on. Maybe so if conservatives get or stay in control, after all, some definitive terms of conservatism is stay the same, slow to change, if it was good enough for my daddy then it is good enough for me; mentality. Without progressive more liberal thinking we will stay they same. Like religious groups not wanting their children vaccinated or don’t believe in going to doctors. Men do the speaking, women stay quiet. Men want to control women and their bodies. Taliban anyone?

Slak says… September 7, 2014 at 2:05 p.m.

FreeSpiritMan, you obviously see one side good, one side bad.
I see two bad sides.
In your terms, neocon = Taliban-like repression, forcing the dogma
I will agree.
In my terms, proglib = Nanny-like repression, forcing the dogma
You will not agree.
~
It should come as no surprise I find the well-intentioned swaddling of the nanny as claustrophobic and insultingly binding. What might surprise is I find the neocon’s obstinate resistance to libertarian change just as heinous.
~
Example: I am 100% in favor of monogamous heterosexual marriage. I am also 100% for polygamous bi-sexual marriage and every form of marriage in-between. I think it is solely the family’s business about how it will be structured. (Nannies and Taliban can hug each other in dismay at the thought of losing that much control).
~
I will vote for gridlock before I vote for dragging this country to either extreme. Obviously, enough Americans agree with me that gridlock is manifest regularly. It is a strategy to maintain some semblance of the liberties that both extremes steadily whittle away at.

Slak says… September 7, 2014 at 7:50 p.m.

Proglibs want to outlaw tobacco and neocons want to keep pot outlawed.
Between the two, a poor man can’t find any peace of mind.

ARMNAR says… September 7, 2014 at 8:51 p.m.

I’d pay more heed to Libertarians if their loudest voices didn’t emanate from abject moon bats.

Advertisements

One thought on “Comments on Truth column

  1. Pingback: Wretched remarks | Serenity is a fuzzy belly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s