May 7th, 2010

Cramer Crap

Who Debunks the Debunkers?

We all know one; some of us know more than one. That person who forwards every BS e-mail claiming that Obama is a secret Muslim terrorist, or that the Bush administration funded 9-11, or that California is trying to make Christianity illegal, and so on, so on, so forth. My usual response, as is the response of many I've gathered, is simply to send back the URL of the appropriate Snopes article that calls out their shenanigans. The person never learns their lesson (i.e., check Snopes first and stop spreading lies), but they do eventually stop forwarding you e-mails because they hate having their worldview proved wrong yet again.

Of course, it's only natural that the urban legend e-mailers would develop defenses against this wanton display of facts. The first line of defense was to start putting "This e-mail has been declared 'true' by Snopes, so don't bother to go check it!" at the top of the e-mail. Of course, if you then doggedly go check Snopes anyway, you find that they're lying through their teeth. So that ruse quickly stopped being effective.

So now they've taken it to the next level, which is to start sending around e-mails attacking Snopes directly. We just got the first of these last night, an e-mail that claims another site (TruthOrFiction) has revealed that -- Gasp! -- Snopes is run by a husband-and-wife team of amateur fact-checkers (which presumably is supposed to be a problem for some reason); the e-mail then goes on to say that TruthOrFiction has shown them to be LIBERALS (Oh noes!) so obviously you can't believe a word they say.

Except they're not.

Well, rephrase, they might be for all I know, but that's not something TruthOrFiction says. In fact, TruthOrFiction says: is an excellent site that has become an authoritative source for information about urban legends and forwarded emails. We regard David and Barbara Mikkelson, the founders and operators of, as colleagues and professional researchers who have earned a good reputation for what they do.

We can give a unique perspective on this story because we do the same kind of work as and have sometimes been the target of similar criticism.

We've got a collection of emails that have come to accusing us of being "right wing whackos" as well as "liberals" and "communists." We've been suspected of being owned and operated by both Republicans and Democrats. We've been called "Christian propagandists" as well as "atheists pretending to be neutral." We occasionally receive emails that have elaborate theories about who "really" owns us and what our "real" motives are.

The bottom line is that if you try to report the truth, there will be those who don't like the truth you've reported and who will develop suspicions about why you did.

That, in our view, is what is happening with Snopes.

The 2008 presidential campaign has been one of the most intense and unique in our nation's history and has prompted more political eRumors than any presidential campaign in our experience, especially about Barack Obama.

These anti-Snopes emails have probably been prompted by someone who does not like Barack Obama and does not like the fact that Snopes (or for that matter) has debunked some of the emails that are not true about him.

I fully expect the next e-mail that comes along to claim that is funded by Al-Qaeda.

-The Gneech

What the Heck? 0.o

From a review of “Black Dragon Codex” … put out (if you trace it back far enough) by WotC of all places.

“Enough!” Gneech barked. “You two, always fighting! Traps are good. If we find no traps, then they had nothing to protect–or someone been here before. Traps mean this right way!” His voice raised into a screech as the little goblin beat both of them lightly with the length of his weapon. “So you both stop fighting and shut up, or the ogres will find us from you making . . . so . . . much . . .”–Gneech’s staff slowly came to a frozen halt, and his wide, flat eyes peered down the corridor behind him–”. . . noise. Uh-oh.”

Apparently somebody’s written an unauthorized biography of me … or something.

-The Gneech

Originally published at You can comment here or there.