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E-mail Forward Smears: It’s A Landslide Of Crap For Obama

Those right-wing e-mail forwards that everyone gets (usually from family members or friends) are, as we’ve seen, one of the right’s most effective ways of spreading lies about Democrats.

After all, their anonymity allows people to lie with impunity — like the one supposedly quoting Obama, talking about how much he hated white folks … when the words were actually written by a well-known white supremacist. More recently, we’ve been seeing "the Obama death list."

The standard response is that "liberals do it too." Well, my friend Woodrowfan, who is a history prof, decided to keep track of the e-mail forwards for both sides that landed in his Inbox. Here’s his report:

An update on the number of right-wing lies being told about Obama. I checked Snopes again today for my weekly check to see what lies the wingers are spreading about Obama now. The current count is below.

Total emailed rumors filed under "Obama": 26. (an increase of 1 since last week)

Number of negative: 25 (and the one positive is really about RFK as much as it is about Obama.) The new email is the one with lies about Obama in Afghanistan. The Obama "death list" has not yet made it to Snopes.

OK, that’s 25 negative emails. So, how true are they?

  • Totally False: 17 (an increase of 1)
  • Partly False : 5 (unchanged)
  • Unknown: 3 (unchanged)
  • True: 1 (which lacks context which would have made it less negative)

Wow, out of 23 emails with verifiable facts, 22 are either total or partial LIES.

Now, how does McCain compare?

Total Emails: 3 (!?!) a decrease of 1. They dropped one about his son’s service records (which was positive.) I don’t know why.

  • Positive 1
  • Negative 2

A big, big difference. How many are of the 3 are true? One is true, but lacks context. It’s an email about how great Cindy McCain is, which neglects to mention her being convicted of stealing drugs given to her charity.

The remaining two are marked as unconfirmed, some comments about McCain by Karl Rove and the bit about him not being eligible for President because he was born in Panama.

So, which side, left or right, relies on lies in their campaigns? I think it’s clear that the RW "wins", hands down.

I also have a theory about why these forwards are so popular with the right. It’s a combination of two main factors:

— The right has to lie about Democrats, as a simple matter of winning or losing, more than the left must about Republicans, especially after eight years of Republican rule. All we have to do is discuss their actual record.

— Moreover, wingnuts are far more prone to believing this shit. It’s a much more gullible audience.

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David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.