As we creep up on the 2014 mid-term elections, there are a lot of lies floating around and, in this cowboy’s view, folks should be held accountable for what they say. Seems to me that truth is nonpartisan and should be close to the heart of everyone, whether republican, democrat, or independent.
As Americans, we advocate and support freedom of speech but when the exercise of that right intentionally misleads people or disrupts the electorial and legislative processes, there should be some legal penalty such as exists to penalize those who yell “fire” in a crowded theater.
Now a great many folks believe things that just aren’t true and they’re entitled their own opinion but, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Although, someone might believe that two plus two is five and a quarter that doesn’t make it true!
In the absence of legal remedies, I reckon we might not be able to stop the poisonous ranting of kooks but there is one way to help stop the spread of lies around the internet. When you get an email, please don’t rely on your own beliefs and opinions, fact check before you click the forward button. There are scores of websites which offer up lies to the public but there are at least four reputable “fact checking” sites on the internet: Politifact, TruthorFiction, Snopes, and FactCheck. Those sites will, each in its own way, indicate whether the reported information is factual and truthful.
Then, if the message is untrue, and you really want to reinforce truth rather than forwarding an irresponsible message, return it to the sender by clicking “reply to all” in your email program and then type in a polite link to the truth. By doing this, all of those who received the faulty information will have the truth! Seems to me that’s the American Way.
Do beware!. You should know that there are some who don’t want to know or to believe the truth and you may lose a friend or two by pointing it out! But, I reckon standing up for what you know is right and true might be worth that loss.