Gotcha. You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet. If you did, you might believe that Joe Lieberman had endorsed Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Never mind that such an endorsement would be ridiculous for Lieberman to make, given that his fortunes rest better with Democrats than Republicans regardless of the Massachusetts outcome.
Actually, Lieberman has no plans to make an endorsement at all. That’s a smart move on his part, since anything Lieberman does would make it more difficult for Martha Coakley. No one thinks much of Joe these days.
The right wing has grown quite savvy about how to spin propaganda, use Twitter and Facebook to create fact out of fiction, and with the full cooperation of sites claiming to be “crowdsourced journalism”.
Here’s how it works. There’s a site out there called “Before It’s News”. It’s run by an anonymous owner called “Little Blue Marble, LLC”. The LLC registration points back to a home in Kentfield, CA. From their “About” page:
Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.
No vetting, no corroboration, no…nothing. Here’s how it goes:
- On January 15th, a community member posts a story with this SEO-ready title: “Joe Lieberman Endorsement Scott Brown Latest Polls Show Widening Lead”
- It’s clearly a Republican shill piece as are the other ‘non-stories’ posted by Anonymous
- The story is then dropped into Twitter as fact. I have seen it repeated by disheartened and angry Democrats many times over the last two days.
All hail crowdsourced news. Or not. This is a perfect example of an irresponsible use of collaboration on the Internet. It would not surprise me to discover this “Before It’s News” site was created as the hatching-place for right-wing rumormongering, with the Brown-Coakley race being the first experiment.
Collaboration is a wonderful thing, when it’s fact-based. When the Internet is used to send rumors flying around at light-speed, it’s a disaster. The ONLY defense is for users to look at the source, to see if it’s corroborated with a trustworthy source (such as Lieberman himself), and then choose NOT to spread rumors that are clearly just planted.
Anyone can publish anything on the Internet, anonymous or identified. Users and readers need to use their own common sense to decide whether it’s worth repeating. Otherwise we’re nothing more than propaganda-spinners playing with people’s minds and futures.
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