Watercooler – How The Roberts Retirement Rumor Started
Apparently, a Georgetown law professor is responsible for the false rumor that spread today about the imminent retriement of Chief Justice John Roberts:
Today’s class was partially on the validity of informants not explaining their sources. [Professor Tague] started off class at around 9 am EST by telling us not to tell anyone, but that we might find it interesting that tomorrow, Roberts would be announcing his retirement for health concerns. He refused to tell anyone how he knew. Then, at around 9:30, he let everyone in on the joke.
[B]etween the hour when the class began and when he revealed that he made it up, plenty of students txted and IM’ed their friends and family…. [So] there’s a very good chance that the Roberts rumor that spread like wildfire on the internet was sparked by an eccentric law professor trying to make a point.
It’s a scary thought: If a 30-minute demonstration in a law class can create misinformation on such a large scale, imagine what a concerted effort over time by a team of dedicated criminal masterminds could do?
What’s on your mind tonight?