This seems to be the week for seeing the power of the Internet. First there is all the news regarding the Sony Entertainment hack and the canceling of the new movie “The Interview,” and now I keep hearing about this online rumor going around alleging that Malia Obama is pregnant.
It is, of course, just another one of those crazy Internet hoaxes but it has spread like wildfire and it certainly falls into that category of things you are prone to believe based upon your personal feelings about the Obama’s. Not surprisingly, the Right love to perpetuate this hoax. You may remember the recent Republican smear when the communications director for a Republican U.S. Congressman, Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, publicly criticized the girls for their Thanksgiving day attire at a Turkey pardoning ceremony.
But this hoax was particularly juicy for many, especially considering it fits in with what they likely consider a common problem for young black girls: teen pregnancy.
To their credit, the Obama’s and the White House have not responded at all to these rumors, as they did not to the Thanksgiving comment and others involving personal attacks on their children. Some things are just not worth the President of the U.S. or one of his officials, responding to.
But I can.
Let me repeat it again for those who still believe in that stupid hoax: Malia Obama is not pregnant. The story started on an online satirical site called Empire News. Once it was picked up by a few naive or ignorant folks who did not get the joke, they spread it without the appropriate, satirical context.
Such is our world today when so much of what most of us know comes from online sources. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing as long as we know the source and can trust the source. But that is often not the case - and many don't care. It seems more and more people are saying: to hell with verification! Why not spread a random rumor, no matter who gets hurt in the process?
People really are funny sometimes. I have often heard it said that people are not really after truth most of the time. What they want is for their current beliefs and opinions to be validated.
The Internet then, for many people, is less an information source, and more of a mirror of their inner selves. It's too bad considering how great a tool the web could be for them. As another saying goes, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. And so is the Internet.
Photo Credit: WikiCommons