Town Square

Post a New Topic

Fact Checking

Original post made by Stay Cool on Oct 25, 2009

I agree with previous posts - the importance of fact checking cannot be underestimated:
"It must have seemed so perfect. An obscure blogger unearths some pages of President Obama's college thesis. The report supposedly comes from big-time journalist Joe Klein of Time magazine. And the thesis has some real gems: like Obama's disdain for the Constitution.
The whole thing was nothing more than a satirical post on a humor blog. But Rush Limbaugh, who quoted from the supposed thesis on his radio show, sure wasn't laughing. Here's how it went down.
An unknown blogger picked up on a made-up post meant as a joke, which claimed that Joe Klein had gotten his hands on 10 pages of student Obama's college thesis. Rush Limbaugh jumped on it, which immediately sparked Web searches on "obama thesis."
Supposedly titled "Aristocracy Revisited," the excerpt revealed the president had "doubts" about the "so-called founders." Juicy. Except not true. Limbaugh discovered halfway through his show that he'd been had, but defended himself by saying basically the thesis felt true.
Joe Klein finally jumped in, and called the report "nonsense" on his Swampland blog, and the blogger who thought the hoax was real also apologized.
Let's hope someone kept their sense of humor in all this. Still, for a humble post to go from humor blog to major media outlet sure seems impressive. Someone ought to write their thesis on it. For real."
Web Link

Comments (6)

Posted by Still laughing, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm

This, to me, illustrates perfectly the hazards of relying entirely on the Internet to do your homework for you. Too many people use google indiscriminately when looking for sources to back up their claims (something I see, sadly, very often on forums), and that's when you get this kind of screw up. I find it even more hilarious that Rush isn't man enough to own up.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 26, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

That's definitely the right word: "indiscriminately". It isn't a problem of relying upon the Internet, it is a problem of being unable to discriminate sources.


Posted by Nadia, a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Notice how the conservatives are strangely absent from this thread.

Not to say that both sides aren't prone to gaffes (our dear vice president among them)...


Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

Later in the same program, when Limbaugh learned the report was a hoax, he corrected the record, alerting listeners that the quotes from the thesis had been fabricated. But he insisted the fabricated thesis was still in line with what the president thinks.

"So I shout from the mountaintops: 'It was satire!'" Limbaugh said on the program. "But we know he (Obama) thinks it. Good comedy, to be comedy, must contain an element of truth, and we know how he feels about distribution of wealth."

Read more: Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 29, 2009 at 9:52 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Rush fell for it because it supports his opinion of Obama.

Even though there was no evidence for WMD in Iraq, we KNOW it was there!

This one is for Rush from the immortal words of Richard Feynman, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."


Posted by Mariana, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Mariana is a registered user.

So good comedy must contain an element of truth in it? Good, I'll keep on watching my Stewart and Colbert.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

and my friend here will have the kibble."
By Tom Cushing | 12 comments | 1,180 views

Job growth is driving housing prices
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 1,067 views

Sentinels of Freedom Newsletter
By Roz Rogoff | 0 comments | 730 views

When those covering the news become the news
By Gina Channell-Allen | 0 comments | 82 views