On the television in his living room, Peterman has watched enough news and campaign advertisements to hear the truth: Sen. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, is a Christian family man with a track record of public service. But on the Internet, in his grocery store, at his neighbor's house, at his son's auto shop, Peterman has also absorbed another version of the Democratic candidate's background, one that is entirely false: Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.Apparently they can, Mr. Peterman. The range of emotions I have to this story is pretty wide. Bewilderment is pretty strong at one end while rage stakes out the other end. This is perhaps the dark side of the democratization of information brought on by the Internet. It seems to me that schools need to start teaching responsible information consumerism, and that the media needs to work even harder at watch-dogging the purveyors of bullshit.
...Does he choose to trust a TV commercial in which Obama talks about his "love of country"? Or his neighbor of 40 years, Don LeMaster, a Navy veteran who heard from a friend in Toledo that Obama refuses to wear an American-flag pin?
Does he trust a local newspaper article that details Obama's Christian faith? Or his friend Leroy Pollard, a devoted family man so convinced Obama is a radical Muslim that he threatened to stop talking to his daughter when he heard she might vote for him?
"I'll admit that I probably don't follow all of the election news like maybe I should," Peterman said. "I haven't read his books or studied up more than a little bit. But it's hard to ignore what you hear when everybody you know is saying it. These are good people, smart people, so can they really all be wrong?"
Monday, June 30, 2008
Anger, Sadness, Fear. Any are Proper Responses to This.
The Washington Post has a story up on confusion about Obama in Ohio.