As of this writing, a web site called "americannews.com" has posted a story claiming that an Obamacare "Death Panel" has ordered its first patient put to death. Could that possibly be true?
Well. Let's examine that, shall we?
This site came to my attention through a friend of mine who was commenting on an unrelated posting she'd somehow found there. I checked and discovered the posting she was writing about to be utter lying crap (it was a patently false claim that NBC News was reporting that Obamacare would require us all to get microchips by 2017). That done, I then spotted this headline on the site for a different story:
"Breaking: Obamacare Death Panels Have Arrived, First Patient Executed Today"
That got my attention. It turns out, americannews.com lifted the story (or from someone else who did) without attribution from a satire site called The Daily Currant, but altered it in such a way as to make the satirical nature of the story less obvious.
What's really rich is some of the Facebook comments that followed. My favorite was from a poster who continued to insist that the article had to be true even after another poster assured her it was a hoax. Not only did she reject this observation, she copped a 'tude about it. Ms. Gullible wrote: "Look Lee my father is suffering from stage 4 cancer and we were told by doctors that something like this would be coming. So take off your rose colored sunglasses and look at what is going on around u. Do some checking for yourself instead of just saying its not true because I know first hand it is."
But while you're laughing over that person's gullibility, here's something to sober you up. The comments on the Daily Currant version of the story--which claimed the woman chosen by the "death panel" would be executed by firing squad--show that some of those readers believed it as well. And did I mention that the "About Us" page on the Currant website clearly states that all of its stories are intended as satire and are false?
As they say in the part of the country I grew up in, "Ya cain't fix stoopid."
If the gullibility of such posters doesn't scare you, then consider this: their votes count equally with yours.
I posted the following comment on the americannews.com version of the story. I'll be shocked and amazed if it stays up long. But who knows? It could be that determining whether people still buy the hoax after it's been disproved is part of the psychology experiment.
It's my stated, published opinion that most Americans are fully capable of sorting out on their own fact from fiction. This experience has me rethinking that notion.
And by the way, the americannews.com site loads so slowly, my guess is it's either (a) running off someone's home computer; (b) is located in Uzbekistan, or (c) both.
My comment (complete posting follows):
"Folks -- I hate to break it to you. I have no idea what this website is. But one good guess is that it's a psychology experiment to see how gullible people can be. Especially people on the right. This article about death panels originally appeared on a website called The Daily Currant--a website that clearly states that all of its stories are satire and are false. In simply lifting the story from the Daily Currant without attribution (piracy at its finest) The American News version deleted a line from the original claiming the woman was to be executed by firing squad, in order to make it sound more believable.
"I will be mentioning this on my Tucson radio program today. For those of you who stated that this clearly is a hoax--congratulations.
"To everyone else -- let this be a lesson to you not to believe random crap you read on the internet--especially from web sites you don't know anything about, and whose "about us" page is blank.
BTW, my further guess is that this post will be deleted the moment the site administrators see it.
Post Script: Several months down the road, I am still getting "likes" to the Facebook comment referenced above, and the article you just read has emerged as one of the most popular on my blog. While I'm pleased to see that so many readers have found my observation helpful, the frightening implication here is that all these months after the hoax was published on American News, it's still getting read.
©2014 by Forrest Carr. All rights reserved.