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'Obama Phone' ruse is an effort to fool all the people
'Obama phones' message is an Internet canard

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Date published: 1/23/2010

"YOU CAN fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time," Abraham Lincoln is supposed to have said. I can't be sure. I wasn't there.

Anyway, that statement might have been true before e-mail.

And before people started the sport of whipping each other up into a frenzy by forwarding e-mails containing absolutely outrageous stories that the media doesn't want you to know about. Supposedly.

You know what I'm talking about. The ones that usually start out, "This is no joke."

Um, yes it is.

They include "information" shifty media types like me supposedly refuse to tell you because we want to keep you in the dark.

Well, let me share with you a simple truth that should be pretty obvious: When something truly outrageous does happen, we media types are thrilled, whoever is responsible, whether we're liberal or conservative, whether we're Tiger Woods fans or not.

You see, we get paid to try to attract your attention. And believe me, that isn't easy these days. And trust me, we're trying hard to sell newspaper and cable and radio ads. And we need to have readers, viewers and listeners to do that. And if we don't attract people's attention, we get laid off. But, you see, we're supposed to do it with stories that are true.

So when you get a forwarded e-mail containing shocking "information" that isn't already on CNN, there's about a 99.9999999999999999 percent chance it isn't true.

One recent big fat lie forwarded to millions is the concept of "the Obama Phone." You may have seen it. The e-mail says President Barack Obama is responsible for a program to give away cell phones and pay for free minutes for welfare recipients, funded by your taxes.


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