March 21, 2010

Rumor Has It


David and Barbara Mikkelson of Snopes.com fame are profiled on NPR, so there's a perfect Critical Thinking bit of brain candy for you.

Can you believe these two people, by themselves, have been battling the forces of internet nonsense since 1995?

I've posted about them before, but there was a time when I relied heavily on their site to cut back on forwarded emails both at home and at school. Especially at school.

We almost never have the forwarded email problem at work anymore. I'd like to think that I helped by always going to Snopes, then replying all with the facts. It did work because after a while people started just sending the crap to me only and asking if it was true. Like I was the only one able to type in "Snopes.com" or something. Kind reminds me of "Let Me Google That For You."

So, yeah, I'd like to think everyone is now completely enlightened and checks it themselves, but I suspect this kind of hoo-ha is going through different channels I tend to ignore (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Much of the stuff they get is political in nature, usually bashing politicos from both sides of the aisle. But their forte is urban legends and internet rumors, mostly the kind that fill up your inbox. Another great online site for this kind of stuff is FactCheck.org, which is a non-partisan group dedicated to fact-checking political speech and journalism. For obvious reasons, they are very busy indeed.


5 comments:

Michael Taylor said...

Another great post.

I'm developed a reputation at work as the email mythbuster. speaking of which it's about time for another round of "Mars will be as Big as the Sun!" emails.

Victoria said...

First off, I would like to thank you for using the term "Hoo ha". I use it all the time (to be quite honest it usually is in the context of replacing a word I can't remember, but your usage works too).
I love that Snopes.com has been able to put a halt to some of the regurgitated rhetoric that used to come flowing into my inbox.

Jim said...

Michael,

You can respond to the Mars emails while balancing and egg on it's end today. Oh wait, that can be done any day...

Victoria,

I've always heard "hoo ha" as basically "junk' or "silliness" (when it's not being used euphemistically by children for lady parts). Glad you approve of the usage.

I don't know if Snopes has stopped it, but I know my forwarding of Snopes articles has! But it's a long fight and people sure ain't getting any brighter...

Thanks!

Nancy said...

That's good to know - I'm a big fan of the Mikkelsons! They helped me debunk the "Walmart is arresting illegal immigrants" myth for my students just a few days ago. (My students still believe the rumor, though.)

Jim said...

Nancy,

They still believe it? Well, some people still think OJ was innocent. I don't know what to tell you. Maybe have them do more research on it.

Thanks,
Jim