For several years now I’ve encouraged people to check out what they receive in their email boxes. Everyday there is a new letter making the rounds that if frequently based on false or misleading information. FactCheck.org is one of several sites where the truth may be discovered.
Another very good site to test the accuracy of all that is claimed is the PolitiFact site of the St. Petersburg Times. The thing I like best about this site is their use of a “truth meter.” Each topic is accompanied by a meter that rates the accuracy of the claim from true to false with degrees of mostly true, half-true, mostly false, and false.
A third site that is useful is the Washington Posts, The Fact Checker. This one uses a cartoon Pinocchio to rate the truth. The more false a claim is, the more Pinocchio noses it earns, four being the least truthful.
I know I’m going to anger some of you Sarah Palin fans but, just as an example, a reporter from the Washington Post spent half an hour on Palin’s May, 2011 tour bus and when statements made by Palin during that half hour were ran past The Fact Checker so many of her statements and claims earned the Four Pinocchio rating the Post referred to them as Palin’s bushel of Pinocchios.
Finally, I like to occasionally check in with Snopes.com. Snopes specializes in debunking “urban legends.” Rumors and claims that have gone viral on the Internet and become so widespread they take on an air of truth or certainty. Actually, because of the wide variety of rumors reported on, Snopes is kind of entertaining. One can easily spend an hour on the site and get lots of smiles and the occasional laugh out loud.
Simple truth is, if you received anything in your email box, see anything on a social networking site, read anything on a blog (including this one), that appears just a little bit suspicious, take the time to check one of these sites before hitting the forward button and further spreading the margarine. I used margarine rather than butter because margarine is, like much that appears online, a fake.