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Trust but verify.

August 30, 2009

I’m naturally a bit skeptical so, when reading something on the internet, I tend to click the links and look for original sources.

Sometimes there are no original sources.

“orfannkyl” posts many links on LGF links to his own blog “Jumping in Pools”.  A link on August 27th was to an article entitled “Nine-Year-Old Forcefully Removed from Town Hall Meeting after Question.”

The article sounded interesting but I was immediately suspicious when the article claimed that the nine-year-old girl was at the town hall meeting by herself and that she tried to evade security by hiding in the crowd.  I asked for a source but the none was provided.   The article has a byline of Patricia Hamel but, based on a fruitless Google search, she doesn’t seem to be a reporter.

A local website/paper, The Vindicator, doesn’t mention the nine-year-old girl at all stating that

Connie Day of Wilmington started off two hours of questions and answers with what she said is “one of the scariest things people think — it will be like socialized medicine.”

No unaccompanied child being hauled away by security.  Perhaps that did happen but I can’t find any evidence of it.  Don’t you think one person would have taken a photo or a video?  Anyone?  Please?

This is a perfect example of why you should question what you read on the internet.  Double check statistics.  Verify sources.  Look for the original.  Identify independent sources.

439 people have clicked the original link.  I wonder how many believed the story as presented.  I just noticed that the original was posted under “humor.”  Was this supposed to be satirical?  If so, it failed miserably.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Phil permalink
    September 9, 2009 2:40 pm

    So you’re saying you got fooled by a satire piece clearly marked “Humor,” and you say the article failed miserably? With all do respect, you failed miserably.

  2. Michele permalink*
    September 9, 2009 4:40 pm

    No. I’m saying that the link was marked “humor.” Have you ever looked at the Little Green Football links? The category is off to the right side in a grey font on a blue background. Since a reader’s attention is caught by the bright blue, bold face title of the link, I would not call that “clearly marked.”

    As for the post itself, it is in no way labelled as “humor” or written as satire. It looks like a cut and paste article taken from a news source.

    So, with all due respect, I’d say the blog post failed miserably.

  3. Phil permalink
    September 9, 2009 5:44 pm

    Hmm… You select what category you want to see on the “top rated links,” including politics, humor, opinion, and so on. So, either you went to “most recent,” didn’t check what you were clicking on, and were fooled, or you chose “humor” and foolishly believed a satire piece.

    What’s more, the article is marked “satire” at the bottom, and the site apparently writes a lot of satire and has a daily “Funny Political Caption.”

    Sorry, but there is nothing to say other than you just didn’t notice the three indicators, one obvious (marked Humor on LGF), and two not so much (the rest of the site, the mark of satire). There is no shame in that, but to write an article about it…I don’t think it’s worth it.

  4. Michele permalink*
    September 9, 2009 7:14 pm

    Once again, no.

    I always have 25 links listed under the category “Most recent links.”

    The article is tagged as “satire” but I don’t typically read the tags on a post. Do you?

    Seriously. I get that the post was intended as satire. It’s bad satire. What did I learn from all of this? Trust my first instinct and avoid that site. It’s not enlightening or entertaining.

  5. Phil permalink
    September 9, 2009 9:32 pm

    What do you mean “no.” I said, “either you went to “most recent,” didn’t check what you were clicking on, and were fooled, or you chose “humor” and foolishly believed a satire piece.” You said that you “always have 25 links listed under the category “Most recent links.”” I was exactly correct.

    You can’t come to terms with being fooled. I got taken in, I got over it, which is something you apparently cannot do.

  6. Michele permalink*
    September 9, 2009 9:37 pm

    Did you notice that other comments on the original article are from people who thought the post was real? That was my point. Too often we trust what we read on the internet without question. For example, a local DJ likes to pass on things that she’s read on the internet and quite often these items are false.

    I figured out that I was fooled. How many people didn’t?

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