We are in the Disinformation Age. By "we," of course, I mean we journalists, who are easy prey to any disinformation we see on a computer screen.
So, too, did many in the mainstream press lap up the story of Bush’s IQ being the lowest of any recent President. It was utterly false, but ended up being quoted as genuine in newspapers from England to Australia.
Net hoaxes only work when the people reading them share the assumptions implicit in the hoax. Journalists think Bush is dumb; therefore they are more likely to believe any claim that supports that notion.
So now I’m taking a pro-active approach. Instead of being tricked by Net fraud, I aim to perpetrate some of my own. Let’s see if any of the following Instant Myths gain traction:
NASCAR Is Behind The War on Terror
Those crazy lefties who think the whole "war on terror" deal is merely a front to secure vast oil reserves have only done half of the work. Take it a step further. The U.S. President is an avowed NASCAR fan; he even conjured thoughts of roaring NASCAR fans during his inauguration to quell the emotion he feared would overwhelm him.
Those big Fords and Dodges and Chevys and Pontiacs consume fuel like a Nader fan consumes lies. Do I have to draw a map for you people?
Sports Illustrated reports:
"Almost 90 percent of the checks written by those affiliated with NASCAR flow to Republican candidates, according to a CNNSI.com computer analysis of federal campaign contributions. That's more than a half-million dollars for congressional, senatorial and presidential races since 1996, not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars to state and local candidates."
George W. Bush Faked His Education Records
It’s true! In order to gain the Red State votes, Bush had his henchmen conceal the fact that he has a genius-level IQ.
Moreover, the "common guy" President has also published several impenetrably intellectual books under a variety of fake names. This had to be hushed up, for obvious reasons. Nobody in Texas would ever vote for a guy whose pen name is "Noam Chomsky."
Jimmy Breslin Is Fran Drescher's Mother
Actually, this really could be true. I’d never heard the celebrated New York columnist’s voice until a week or so ago, when I saw a documentary in which Breslin appeared. After fifteen minutes of the howling newspaper veteran I was craving the sweet, yielding tones of La Drescher, whose voice, as it happens, is a whole bunch of octaves deeper.
The Real Identity of Deep Throat is...Elliot Lurie
Yes, you’ve never heard of him. And that’s wherein lies the clue! Lurie — with his band Looking Glass — had a big hit in 1972 with "Brandy." He subsequently vanished.
How convenient. For 1972 was the same year the mysterious Deep Throat was spilling secrets to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. And where is Deep Throat these days? Vanished! Unheard of! Unknown! Just like a certain band leader!
And where did Lurie’s Jersey band get its first big break? Why, I’m surprised you need to ask. According to this website," 'Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)’ was not the label's first choice as a single. However, the song was picked off the album by a deejay in Washington, D.C., who played the song heavily and built up a strong local demand."
Washington, D.C., eh? The puzzle is finally solved.
Michael Moore is Witty and Wise
Sorry. Subsequent investigation — ie, reading Moore’s book — has revealed this to be a hoax.
Tim Blair is an Australia-based journalist who first encountered the horror of environmentalism as a grade school student, when a bearded teacher told him that all the fossil fuel in the world was about to vanish and everybody would soon be driving electric cars. Born in 1965, he has been a senior editor at Time magazine, a columnist at Sydney's Daily Telegraph, and the editor of Sports Illustrated's Australian edition. He currently writes for various Australian newspapers and magazines, publishes Timblair.com and has owned dozens of cars and motorcycles — none of them electric.