Monday, October 27, 2008

Orson Scott Card admits to forwarding false emails

Given the prestige which a couple of my friends have given Orson Scott Card lately, I thought this admission, found here, pretty funny.
Here are the pertinent parts:

I have received many forwards tied to this election season, as I bet you have, too. Some of them are downright fraudulent. Some of them began as truth but have since been corrected or are now outdated.
For instance, there was a link I got to an article about lawsuits pending against Obama, demanding that he produce his birth certificate to show he was a natural-born American citizen. I dismissed this immediately as nonsense, because his mother was an American citizen, and I thought that no matter where he was born, he was eligible for the presidency.
But then the friend who sent me the first link sent me a newer one that explained why he might not have been. Apparently there was a law that applied during the era when Obama was born that said that if you were born outside the U.S., and your father was foreign, then your American-citizen mother had to have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years, five of which had to be after the age of 16.
I thought, "What a stupid law. That means that a child born to a foreign father and an American mother who had lived all her life in the U.S. except the day the child was born could not be a citizen unless Mom was 21 or over." And, with a comment to that effect, I passed the link along to a few people as an example of a really stupid law.
Only when my son emailed me the link to Snopes.com did I realize that the article was fundamentally flatulent. The Obama campaign had already provided the Honolulu birth certificate, so the whole question was moot; the lawsuit is a frivolous one that claims the certificate was a forgery.
I have learned the hard and embarrassing way to check everything that purports to be factual at Snopes.com.

I appreciate his honesty of his past gullibility. Snopes.com is a great resource. And "fundamentally flatulent" is a great phrase.

5 comments:

Tim said...

We all make mistakes. And I think those of us who are less gullible tend to be more cynical, sometimes.
It's sometimes a tough balance--you want to have faith in people, but you don't want to be gullible. If anyone knows how to strike a balance, let me know.
Anyone who's traveled to touristy places runs into people trying scams. In my ten weeks in Europe, I'm sorry to say I fell for one. So even I'm gullible at times.

Woodine said...

You know what disgusts me is while that was an email-internet rumor, reputable newspapers like the NY Times published articles challenging McCain's right to be considered a naturally born citizen because he was born out of the country to military parents - but there was a small loophole in the definition during that time as to whether children born in certain countries to US parents could be considered naturally born. It was equally if not more absurd and eaten up by reporters.

And yes, snopes is a good site.

Tim said...

If newspaper reporters bought that--yes, it is disgusting.
Do you have links to articles about that?

Woodine said...

First of all, I agree that fundamentally flatuent is a great term. I almost never (really pretty much never) forward a forward in part because I don't know if they are true and in part because I get too many as it is, but I digress.

Ok, thank you for asking me to reference the articles, it reminded me what bothered me about them. In the articles it informed of the loophole and the professor making the potential lawsuit (that never came to fruition) as well as statements by others that a case like this would never hold water and it would be absurd to press the issue because of all of the possible repercussions and that no judge would support it.

What bothered me was that it was picked up at all, and published first in February and then brought up again in July. I felt that if it really was such a non-issue, why were they making an issue of it? What was their purpose in publishing an article about McCain's eligibility? Was it really sincere investigative reporting, or were they saying - "Oh by the way, here's a problem with McCain - it won't amount to anything and really is silly, but we're going to write about it anyway because we have to write something about him and it certainly couldn't be positive..." Mostly I felt like it was the kind of pointless article that we have seen done to both McCain and Obama this campaign. Sorry for rambling but your questions about media attention, internet rumors, etc has really touched a sore spot with me. With the vast wealth of good information out there I feel like we a flooded with 100x more phony or useless information that overwhelms the important points.

Here are two links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/us/politics/28mccain.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/11/us/politics/11mccain.html

See, they're not incendiary just ... pointless. In my opinion.

Tim said...

By the way, similar claims have been made about Obama (everything from his birth certificate is a fake, to Hawaii wasn't a state when he was born).
Silly stuff, really.