Facts don’t get in the way of Web political rumors

With just days to go before the election, gossip, hearsay, innuendo and smears are flying through the Internet as gadflies and rumormongers hope to sway voters before they head to the polls.

“It’s a lot of mud being slung, it’s understandable, but I think it’s still kind of sad,” said Nick DiFonzo, a psychologist and rumor expert at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York.

By MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer

Candidates and their campaigns are circulating negative bits of information in mainstream venues, raising questions about their opponents in speeches and dropping sour hints in their advertisements. But only on the Internet can entirely false rumors persist, stories told without back up, persistently bouncing from one blog to another.

Some have been out there for years, despite repeated rebuttals from the campaigns. Others surfaced only this past week. And they range from the truly silly (Weekly World News Web site: “OCTOBER SURPRISE: ALIEN ENDORSES MCCAIN!”) to the multitude of bloggers who report results even though votes have yet to be counted: (“Has John McCain Won Florida?” asked the Red State Web site Thursday.)

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his wife Cindy 
Above: The McCains off to meet the aliens….AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Most voters say they have already made their decisions about who they want to have as their next president. So the Internet rumors are targeted at the shrinking pool of undecided voters who are still waiting, wondering and potentially still gathering information.

“The online rumors can affect their last-minute decisions,” said UC Santa Cruz psychology professor Anthony Pratkanis, who researches propaganda and social influence.

Here’s a chance to vet the Net:


The Rumor: The Huffington Post Web site, among others, has reported that John McCain used an obscene word to describe his wife Cindy during his 1992 Senate campaign.

The Facts: This is unsubstantiated. Author and blogger Cliff Schecter initiated this rumor…

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2 Responses to “Facts don’t get in the way of Web political rumors”

  1. indianjuan Says:

    Voters are having a second look about Hussein Obama and his dark clouds that are surrounding him are bringing a big storm.
    People know about John Mccain and his background also his resume.
    We can’t see Hussein Obama resume, dissertation or anything from the Universities he went to because him has forbiden them to release any and all information about him.
    I think that if a canidatie is looking for a job usally he presents his resume.
    Why can’t we see Hussein Obama resume etc?
    Why doesn’t he want anyone to see or know anything about him from the years that he went to the universities?
    Why has Obama written 2 books and not mention his mother also he only seen his father 1day-1week and mentions him a lot.
    Why hasn’t Obama relatives that he’s related to come to his events, like his Zeituni Onyango, 56, referred to as “Aunti Zeituni” in Obama’s memoir, and is an Illegal here in the U.S.http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/01/barack-obamas-kenyan-aunt-living-illegally-boston/
    Why has Obama told the Universities he has attended not to release any information or documents about him?
    Does he anything to hide?
    I would thing that someone would be proud to show what they did while they were at a University and also show what they contributed to society etc while they were there.
    Please listen to this tape at this link: http://www.atlah.org/broadcast/ndnr10-17-08.html

  2. indianjuan Says:


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