Unprepared for Misinformation on Turkey-Day

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 - Save & Share - 3 Comments

Did you know that British police have started carrying guns? I was told that chestnut, among many others, during Thanksgiving dinner at my father’s last week. My father and Step-Mother are Republicans, as are most of their friends, and I’ve come to notice over the years that they believe an absurd amount of misinformation. Where does that misinformation come from? Surprisingly, rarely does it come from watching Fox “news” themselves. I’ve found that most of the faulty “facts” that shape their politics comes from their friends… likewise misinformed Republicans… who either “embellished” on some grain of truth in an otherwise legitimate news story they half-heard incorrectly (“UK police resist calls to give cops guns despite double murder“) or your usual laundry list of RW Talk Radio offenders (Rush, Beck, etc.) Now, like you, I consider myself better informed than most others with regards to politics. And when asked for my opinion on something, I can support my position with the facts. But EVERY time I  stray into “Right-Wing World”, I always, always, ALWAYS am confronted by someone suggesting something that sounds completely ludicrous, but I can’t just call “bulls#!t” because unlike them, I don’t claim to know otherwise unless I can back it up with facts. So rather than anger people that I otherwise am friends with, I keep my mouth shut or provide an unconvincing rationalization that only reinforces my friends’ mistaken beliefs… which is an opportunity lost. For nearly a decade, I’ve been correcting Conservative misinformation on this blog, yet when surprised by the outrageous, I frequently find myself ill-prepared. And it haunts me.

Besides the “Bobbies carrying guns” myth, there was the oft-heard repeated myth of how “states with the toughest gun laws have the highest rate of crime” (“Chicago” and “D.C.” mentioned by name), arguing against strict gun laws. The grain of truth? A WaPo report last September announced that Chicago surpassed New York as the murder capital of the U.S.. Why? While Chicago saw an uptick in the number of murders (500 up from 431), NYC’s murder-rate plunged (from 515 to 419). NYC has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. And while I already knew that most of the guns used in crimes in Chicago come from outside of Chicago where the laws are more lax, I didn’t already know the above fact. Instead, I simply pointed out that “guns are not the problem, unemployment is the problem” because “poverty breeds crime” (and in fact, crime in Chicago is actually going down, which gun advocates attribute to a lifting of gun laws and not the sinking unemployment rate). As for D.C., I had forgotten at the time that just before Bush left office, the Supreme Court rolled back DC’s strict gun-control laws. But I’d just as soon not open that “Second Amendment” can of worms.

Also on the hit parade, “Obamacare”, insurance rates going up, people losing coverage, and that disastrous website (a subject I was better suited to deal with as a former web developer). Did you know “Facebook and Google offered to help fix the Healthcare.gov website and Obama turned them down?” No, that’s because it’s not true. I too had heard mention of “Facebook and Google” in reference to fixing “healthcare.gov”, but forgot the context, so I could not muster much of a response. A quick Google search reveals that Facebook NEVER offered to fix the Federal Health Exchange website (which is probably for the best considering all the “privacy” landmines they’ve been setting off all year, and Google actually IS among five tech companies working to fix the healthcare.gov website. Damn that Obama!

My best response of the evening, “They should have just let anyone that wanted to buy into Medicare just buy into it”, to which the response was, “That would have been easier, wouldn’t it!”

Do you think I was about to point out that “Medicare for All” was the basis for Sarah Palin’s “government takeover of healthcare!” (the argument being private companies would go out of business, unable to compete with terrible, awful government healthcare and it’s “Death Panels” full of “government bureaucrats deciding who lives or dies?” No.

A win’s a win.

Guess I know what I need for Christmas.
 



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