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Chain emails are not to be trusted as factual, credible sources

  • Published in Letters

To the editor,

All of us, Democrat, independent or Republican, receive e-mail each day. Today I would like for you to take a minute and think about the emails you pass on to the people you know. I am constantly getting e-mails from one of my relatives that are actually just right wing conservative lies about President Obama or something he has supposedly done or said. I am very careful to check the facts in these e-mails before I pass them on or, in most cases, send an e-mail back ...

To the editor,

All of us, Democrat, independent or Republican, receive e-mail each day. Today I would like for you to take a minute and think about the emails you pass on to the people you know. I am constantly getting e-mails from one of my relatives that are actually just right wing conservative lies about President Obama or something he has supposedly done or said. I am very careful to check the facts in these e-mails before I pass them on or, in most cases, send an e-mail back to my relative telling her why the e-mail is not true and where to go to look the facts up on the Internet that support my argument.

In the last e-mail I received the subject line was "You Are Not Going To Like This". This e-mail quotes a Judge Kithil of Marble Falls, Texas. highlighting the most egregious pages of HB-3200 and giving his opinion of these sections of the Obama Health Care Law. Also this e-mail states that "this should give you the point blank ammo you need to support your opposition to Obamacare, please send this e-mail to all of your email contacts". Judge Kithi's list included statements like these on certain sections of the Health Care Bill: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S residents even if they are here illegally, the bill states the cancer hospitals will ration care according to age, the plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and community associations, the government would mandate advance-care planning consultations and those on Social Security will be required to attend an end-of-life planning seminar every five years (death counseling). How many of you have a living will or health care power of attorney? That is what end of life "counseling" is about. These are just a few of the false statements made by Judge Kithil. If you want to read the whole list just type in his name in Google.

I went to every page in the Health Care Bill that Judge Kithil was quoting. I found nothing that was even close to the statements in his e-mail. Continuing the search on the Internet I found several interesting REAL FACTS. The "most egregious" was that Judge Kithil was reading HB-3200. This bill never even came up for a vote. The bills that passed Congress were HR-3590 and HR-3962. I also learned that Judge Kithil is pretty much an innocent bystander in all of this. He is a former county judge in a small Texas town who wrote a letter to the editor in 2009 expressing his opinions of HB-3200, the bill that never came up for a vote. Someone called the newspaper and asked permission to put the letter in an e-mail. The next thing he knew he was getting calls from around the country and his opinions went viral. His is quoted as saying, "It really shows the power of the Internet."

AND YET, when you type in "David Kithil and Obamacare" you will get nearly 2,000 examples of his letter posted on websites, blogs and forums, most of them passing on this e-mail that is full of anything but the truth.

THE LESSON: facts need to come from reputable, credible sources, not an e-mail chain. To check the facts in your emails there are many sources you can go to including: Factcheck.org, politifact.com, snopes.com. There was even an article about this false -mail in the Washington Post on 1/21/11 — The Fact Checker by Glenn Kessler.

Cathy Dawson

Laconia

Sincerely,

Thomas Dawson