Archive for the ‘hearsay’ Category

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

November 1, 2008

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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China’s Communist Rulers Reiterate The Rules

January 4, 2008

BEIJING – China‘s ruling Communist Party has warned officials against bribery, spreading hearsay and several other taboos, ahead of the reassignment this month of several provincial-level politicians to new posts, a government news agency said.

The no-nos were on a list of “10 taboos” released by the party’s central committee and discipline commission, Xinhua News Agency said late Thursday.

The taboos included lobbying officials of higher rank, handing out pamphlets or souvenirs without authorization, holding social activities to form cliques, and offering or taking bribes.

Also on the list were making phone calls, giving gifts, holding banquets or conducting visits to win support; covering up illicit activities; spreading hearsay against others; using intimidation or deception; and arranging jobs for others.

Many provincial-level officials….

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