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Rightwing nuts 14, leftwing nuts 0

September 30, 2012 - Harry Eagar
Are rightwing nuts more gullible than leftwing nuts? Or, alternatively, are they about equally foolish, but are there lot more of the rightwing kind?

Let's ask Mr. Snopes., the urban legend fact-checking service, has a "Hot 25" list of the biggest current urban legends, as judged by "frequency of access, user searches, reader e-mail, and media coverage." Of today's Hot 25, 5 were judged to be true or partly true, so let's set them aside on the grounds that spreading true stories should not be criticized. (Although one of the 5 is a nasty and fact-free rant against President Obama, and this is relevant in light of the other findings. However, Snopes merely reported whether the rant was being properly attributed by the Internet noise machine to the correct African-American publicist and found that it was.)

Of the remaining 20, Snopes found six to be false or mostly false, but these do not have any particular political tendency.

That leaves 14 which are absolutely false (most of them) or largely false and which do have an obvious political tendency. All 14 push rightwing, mostly anti-Obama themes, although one goes back in Mr. Snopes' file to 1996 and is, in my recollection, even older.

That's the one that atheists are going to get the FCC to ban religious broadcasts. With religious broadcasters outnumbering atheist broadcasters by about 9,000 to 0, the persistence of this one seems to prove that you cannot make up a hoax so silly that the people who worship god by watching TV won't believe it.

While there are certainly leftwing nuts, not one cracked the Hot 25.


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