©01 The Media Desk
[WEBMASTER NOTE: If you are one of the people that forward these things, please do not take this piece personally. The Desk has gotten notes and phone calls from people who are upset at the Desk that something they forwarded, with the best of intentions, turned out to be a hoax. Others have asked the Desk if he simply makes up the information about the emails to draw attention to its self. One has accused the Desk of writing the emails and then debunking them. The only answer the Desk has to these charges is... 'oh please'.]
The Desk, the Desk's wife, and the Desk's office, and everybody else in the country with an email account has been barraged by email rumors and hoaxes and SPAM over the last couple of weeks.
And the vast majority of them are wide-eyed panic-stricken 'better safe than sorry' SPAM.
"I heard this from a friend of a friend who is a Policeman...", "...anti-Jewish code in Wingding font...", "...I feel it is vital to inform all my friends...", and dozens of others are going around.
The Desk checks out these rumors as they come in, but lately, there is no way it can keep up. Not even the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control have been able to debunk everything in a timely manner.
For example... here's an FBI anti-hoax posting, and the list from the CDC
The hoax originators and their perpetuators, and those that believe in such things are moving faster than those that are fighting the good fight against ignorance and misinformation. Two such dedicated sites are http://www.snopes2.com, and http://www.urbanlegends.com/ post everything and sundry about various hoaxes and other Net tripe. [NOTE: see the Snoopes 'Rumors of War' section for emails about 9/11 and related items]
While the Desk's own Urban Legend page is a massive work with tons of information about all sorts of things on it... or something like that, it isn't the only game in town. So don't get all bent out of shape at the Desk for shooting your pet 'forward this to protect your loved ones...' email full of holes.
The 'Klingerman Virus' is a good example. One of the Desk's acquaintances did nine kinds of firedance and even told the Desk 'Don't send me anything else like that' for proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was a fraud. And an old one at that. They didn't get upset at the US Postal Service rumor control. They were upset at the Desk.... Explain that one.
It's probably a case of 'killing the messenger.' Oh well.
Will the Desk stop its campaign against Internet Rumors and hoaxes?
No. No way.
At least not until it's Nigerian Bank account comes through, or maybe it makes its $71,000 by forwarding a chain letter, or Microsoft sends it five bucks per forwarded email, or Miller Brewing sends some free beer, or minority American's voting rights expire, or .... Ad nausium.
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