Update: Tim adds his take. I like this part:
Memo to email smearers. Your email address will now be public property. That’s how we play. No quarter. If you spread these lies, you will get corrected, publicly, and more importantly, in your own inbox, where you seem to want to fight this battle.
Does Barack Obama want to change our national anthem to a Coke jingle? Well, if you buy in to stupid forwarded email smears of the Senator you probably think so. If you’ve been on the Internets for more than 3 days you probably don’t.
Here’s the latest, which was happily forwarded to me by someone using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. This person is apparently in health care given the HIPPA notice at the bottom of his/her forwarded smear. I’m not even certain I know this person. In fact, this is the only email from this addresss I’ve ever received so it’s not even a long lost uncle or aunt. The smear appears to date from at least April. Here is the email in it’s entirety:
I sure hope this gets around before Nov.!!!
On Sat, 22 Mar 2008 18:48:04 -0400, ‘LTG Bill Ginn’ USAF ret. forwarded the following:
Hot on the heels of his explanation for why he no longer wears a flag pin, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama was forced to explain why he doesn’t follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.
According to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171, During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.
‘As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides,’ Obama said. ‘There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.’
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this could possibly be our next president!!
I, for once, am speechless. He has absolutely NO pride in this country!!!!!
This is outrageous!!!! He doesn’t deserve to be dogcatcher!!!
(Oh, sorry dogcatchers, I mean you no disrespect.)
LET’S SEND THIS CLOWN DOWN THE ROAD KICKING ROCKS!!!!
Now let’s catch up with the reality based community for a minute and visit PolitiFact.com. They say:
Opponents of Barack Obama seem to have found a new reason to dislike him: he wants the national anthem to be an old Coca-Cola jingle.
Well, not really, but that’s the rumor that’s going around. Although it seems ridiculous on its face, we heard from enough PolitFact readers who wondered if it was true that we decided to do a little digging. What we found was another example of satire being mistaken for the truth.
A widely circulated chain e-mail attributes the following quote to Barack Obama:
“As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides,” Obama said. “There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all? It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.”
(You can read the full text of the e-mail here.)
But Obama never said it. It’s satire written by syndicated columnist John Semmens, whose columns are posted on the Web site The Arizona Conservative. The above quote was part of a short item Semmens wrote in October 2007, imagining a rationale for the oft-emailed photo of Obama not having his hand over his heart during the national anthem (another false smear).
This search for “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing Obama” took me all of about 5 seconds in Google and led me to the correct information. The email was begun by email@example.com, who sent it to the following list of people:
firstname.lastname@example.org, RuthAnn.Tobias@morganstanley.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, JDeacon@TRACER-EST.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, JBuc212@aol.com, James.Graff@mbusa.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Cynthia@LLongLawyers.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Of those people, only firstname.lastname@example.org forwarded it to me. I’m unaware if any others on email@example.com’s list forwarded it as well. I can only hope they did not. I, however, sent them all a link to PolitiFact correcting the smear and misinformation.
This is what we do. Don’t delete the email. Respond to it. With fact. Quickly. To everyone you know who may have been misled.
It’s the only way to handle this.
Now, I do have to say this is one great commercial. It would, however, make a really crappy National Anthem:
Go. Fight. Win.
If you get any of these emails, you need to do 3 things (please):
1. Reply to everyone who got the email that you can tell (you may need to copy addresses from a quoted email that was forwarded). Tell them the truth.
2. Forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Forward it to me email@example.com and I’ll blog it (include the entire message including original sender/recipients)
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