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Feb 12 2013

Misinformation Works; Dangerously So

Yes; misinformation works. Places like Fox News excel at it. Nutjobs like Pam Geller and her ilk have been very successful at promoting fear of anything associated with Islam. They achieve this by simply lying, and playing into the xenophobia already present in many members of the far-right-wing.

I follow someone on Twitter named Joe Cienkowski. I’ve given Joe a lot of grief over his lack of understanding when it comes to basic concepts of science, etc., in the past. I still like the guy, though. I really do think that Joe means well. Unfortunately, his gullibility for anything that hypes his existing fears and religious beliefs makes him horribly misinformed about reality.

When misinformation becomes the basis of some people’s mind-set, it can be very dangerous. If you don’t think that’s a problem, perhaps you should check out the Randolph Linn case.

An Indiana man who pleaded guilty yesterday to setting an Ohio mosque on fire told a judge he was motivated by media accounts – specifically those on Fox News – suggesting Muslims were threatening Americans and were in control of parts of the federal government. —Morlin, Bill. “Mosque Arsonist: Fox News Made Me Do It!” Salon. Salon Media Group, Inc., 22 Dec. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. <http://www.salon.com/2012/12/22/mosque_arsonist_fox_news_made_me_do_it/>.

That’s why it bothers me when I see things like this posted on Twitter:

If John Brennan converted to Islam, it would pay a conflict of interest for him to be CIA director. He won't even say 'war on terror'.

If John Brennan converted to Islam, it would pay [sic] a conflict of interest for him to be CIA director. He won’t even say ‘war on terror’.

The rest of our brief exchange on this subject went as I expected it to.

.@JoeCienkowski The position of CIA director, as well as any other position in our government, has NOTHING to do with a person's religion.

.@JoeCienkowski The position of CIA director, as well as any other position in our government, has NOTHING to do with a person’s religion.

@RelUnrelated this is where beliefs like yours become dangerous. You are blind to the reality that there's a huge conflict with Islamists.

@RelUnrelated this is where beliefs like yours become dangerous. You are blind to the reality that there’s a huge conflict with Islamists.

.@JoeCienkowski Joe; just because someone is a Muslim doesn't make them a terrorist.

.@JoeCienkowski Joe; just because someone is a Muslim doesn’t make them a terrorist.

Misinformation is making a segment of our population dangerously afraid of anyone who happens to be Muslim or who appears (to them) to be of Middle Eastern descent. The blatant sources of misinformation are easy enough to identify, but not easy to counter. When lies are profitable, and protected speech, what more can we do than continue to point it out?

1 comment

  1. John Bentley

    There is an Islamist problem that we should be worried about, and a Christian problem as well. In fact it is a problem that exists at the nexus of religion and politics in almost every society. Whether it is Sharia law or banning Stem cell research, any time religion informs the politics of a society someone will lose.

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