Lies, damn lies and urban legends - I pit left and right (but mostly right)

As an amusing intellectual exercise I had a quick trawl through the Snopes site to see what the balance of urban legends was like for each side. Here’s the count:

Obama/Biden/Michelle Obama:

Positive ULs:[ul]

[li]True - 1[/li][li]False - 2[/li][li]Mixed - 0[/li][li]Undetermined - 0[/li]
Negative ULs:
[li]True - 3[/li][li]False - 23[/li][li]Mixed - 9[/li][li]Undetermined - 2[/li][/ul]

McCain/Palin/Cindy McCain:

Positive ULs:[ul]
[li]True - 1[/li][li]False - 1[/li][li]Mixed - 1[/li][li]Undetermined - 0[/li]
Negative ULs:
[li]True - 3[/li][li]False - 7[/li][li]Mixed - 1[/li][li]Undetermined - 3[/li][/ul]

For the record, “Mixed” largely refers to those emails which include multiple claims or quotes, or which include real or partially real material which is then misrepresented in some way. Also, I’ve excluded one UL from each, one about McCain not getting a pension after leaving the Presidency (because it was essentially neutral as well as being wrong) and one about a sign some guy made about Obama (because it wasn’t about Obama himself - some guy did make a funny sign and that’s it).

So. On positive messages circulating, they’re about even in all categories. Ditto on “Negative - True” and “Negative - Undetermined” ones. But WTF is up with the sizable gap in false smears? 23 to 7? Plus 9 to 1 on emails which are mostly people misquoting or mislabelling photos? What’s up with that?

I mean, I’m not letting the Obama supporters off the hook here either - most of the fake smears against the McCain campaign are aimed at Palin rather than McCain himself, and I would have thought there was enough actual material about the woman to remove any need to make stuff up - but come on. I’m calling shenanigans here.

If you’re one of those people circulating these emails: knock it off, you lying fucks. If you can’t make a real case against your political rivals, maybe you shouldn’t be opposing them.

Well, I happen to think that the McCain campaign is putting out far more false smears than the Obama campaign, but this is a terrible way to prove it. Snopes only responds to what it wants to respond to, and if the people there are biased, it will bias both the number of ULs they reveal for each party and the number of UL they rate as false. I think you need to find a slightly more statistically meaningful way of sampling UL emails.

Only a few more weeks, folks…

I accept that they’ll report what they want to report, although I would think that the relative truth or falsehood of a given UL would be independently verifiable (and indeed Snopes encourage people not to just take their word for it).

I also agree that my personal impression is that the ratio of Obama smears to McCain smears is much higher, based on what’s made it into my inbox. But I don’t know where else to check these things. It was only an idle exercise anyway.

My theory is that right-wing idiots are a little more phobic than left-wing idiots, and therefore are more likely to believe and forward these stories around than their left-of-center counterparts. An example of what I’m talking about can be found by asking idiots on both sides why they’re voting the way they are. I’ve talked to plenty of right-wing idiots, and some of them will say specifically that they’re voting for McCain because they think something negative (and false) about Obama, like that he’s a “commie,” as one of my colleagues put it.

Asking left-wing idiots why they’re voting for Obama usually doesn’t get a similar response. They’re usually voting for him because they like him, even though they have no idea what any of his positions are. I don’t see the fear of the other side near as much with lefties.

Obviously this is just a theory based on people I talk to and opinions I read on the internets, so take it for what it’s worth.

There’s a lot of gradations of “truth”. If I sent out (for instance) an email that said that Obama was involved with an organization that knowingly submitted false names for voter registration rolls, that would be true. However, someone evaluating it for Snopes might rate it as true, because it is true, or might rate it as false, because it implies things that are clearly not true, i.e. that Obama and ACORN were trying to perpetuate voter fraud.

No, that would clearly go in the ‘mixed’ section.

Just like in 2000, right?

(Sorry for any PTSD that may have caused.)

This may be just because McCain has less “gut appeal” than Obama. I actually think he’s the best candidate the GOP could realistically have put up this year, but he doesn’t have that inspirational quality. And his nomination was something of a compromise. So I agree that the number of supporters who are backing him just because they don’t like the other guy is probably a lot higher than for Obama.

Putting it another way, there are probably more people who are horrified by Obama but lukewarm on McCain than people who are horrified by McCain but lukewarm on Obama.

Nice idea, but you forget Snopes is run by some raving lefties!

I don’t expect you to reply, as you’re obviously an idiot, but I can’t help myself.

Cite for your statement above?

Yeah, since Jeb Bush was pushed into the Gubernatorial slot and then the Electoral College said that they would tell us who we wanted for president, I have given up.

I prefer a form of social revolution. Especially keeping in mind current events.

Now Snopes has a liberal bias?

It’s laughable. Once again, I’m fully confident that any organization that is labeled with a “liberal bias” is labeled that way solely because it *doesn’t *have a conservative bias. The fact that Snopes doesn’t admit that Obama is clearly a Muslim terrorist who supports Kenyan dickheads and loves to blow up Pentagons proves that is clearly biased to the left?

I swear, a lot of the right-leaning folks are starting to go Queeg on us.

“Ahh, but Odinga that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that a connection between Obama and Odinga DID exist, and I’d have demonstrated that connection if they hadn’t of distracted me with cites from dubious sources and digressions. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow Lefties… Naturally, I can only cover these things from the Washington Times…”

It’s quite a useful method to dismiss evidence that contradicts one’s world view and avoid cognitive dissonance, isn’t it?