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.