How come nobody invited me to this so-called rumor mill?
Will Medicare premiums go up nearly 21 / 2 times over the next two years in order to pay for the health-care legislation signed by President Obama last year? Well, no, they won’t. But you might think an increase is coming if you read a chain e-mail that has spread across the country in the past few months. “Send this to all seniors that you know,” it says. “So they will know who’s throwing them under the bus.”
Will Americans be subjected to international gun-control laws under a new U.N. weapons treaty signed by Hillary Rodham Clinton? Is the president honoring Jane Fonda as one of the “women of the century”? Was suspected Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan an adviserto the Obama administration?
Like the Medicare premium story, these claims are demonstrably false, too. Nevertheless, they are among the players on the thriving underground e-mail circuit, a nonstop carnival of nonsense whose star attractions have included the canard that Obama is secretly a Muslim and variations on the debunked “birther” allegation about his origins.
Well, whatever the case, it seems like a fewer swamp sort of site. They don’t name names as to who’s behind it and apparently there’s nobody involved with the media. But this part amuses me.
Political scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson notes that conservatives have always been the earliest adopters of new technologies, from direct-mail fundraising to sophisticated polling to the Internet generally. The viral e-mail, she suggests, is just another techno-adaptation by the right.
But that would imply that liberals haven’t figured out how to create their own viral e-mail chains and that the conservative e-mails are part of some organized communications strategy. Jamieson concedes that there’s no evidence for either of those conclusions.
Um, does this author have the slightest clue that his paper has the founder of the “Journolist” on the payroll?
I began Journolist in February of 2007. It was an idea born from disagreement. Weeks, or maybe months, earlier, I had criticized Time’s Joe Klein over some comments he made about the Iraq War. He e-mailed a long and searching reply, and the subsequent conversation was educational for us both. Taking the conversation out of the public eye made us less defensive, less interested in scoring points. I learned about his position, and why he held it, in ways that I wouldn’t have if our argument had remained in front of an audience.
The experience crystallized an idea I’d been kicking around for some time. I was on all sorts of e-mail lists, but none that quite got at the daily work of my job: Following policy and political trends in both the expert community and the media. But I always knew how much I was missing.
I see no effort by the author to even mention this, nor does he acknowledge that the “conservatives” he derides surely aren’t the first group of political types to have an email list.
But I suppose when his hero Obama loses next year he can blame this.
H/T John E.