If you want to skip to the important part, scroll down to the line.
Exhibit A: "I can't believe people speculate on whether or not Jews influence or even control American culture and government. LOL", posted by /u/Orangutan.
24 insightful votes.
A screenshot of the US government website, with big red circles and big red lines directing us to focus on the terrible, terrible parts of this terrible law that restricted free speech, and how it was clear evidence that Jews controlled the government.
Except the actual law says nothing of the sort. (Thanks, /u/HopeThatHalps, for spotting this when we were all taking the doctored screenshot at face value.) The text in the screenshot was heavily indented (not shown in the screenshot), and was preceded by:
(4) Since 2010, the Department of State has adhered to the working definition of Anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). Some contemporary examples of anti-Semitism include the following:
In other words, what was represented as a new law by the US Congress was, in fact, merely a definition given by the EUMC (quoted in an act requiring an increase in reporting stuff going on in Europe).
Regardless of what you think about the true leadership of various organisations around the world, saying that the US government is doing things that it's not in order to get us all riled up is a lie. A clear, blatant lie. A clear, blatant, obvious, easily verified lie. This just isn't something we should be falling for.
And this isn't the first time we have.
So, what can we do about it?
- If you have a strong emotional response about reading something, check whether it's true first. Even a basic check of the law would've made this clear to any of those 24 insightful voters.
- If you notice that you're confused about something, take a moment to think it through. If some new evidence takes you by surprise, you could be wrong, but the evidence could also just be made up as it was in this case.
- If nobody's complained about something being fake after 5 or so comments, assume that nobody's checked it yet. Because they probably haven't.
And yes, I fell for this one too. We all need to do better. This is honestly pathetic.