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"Death Spiral" States - Whispernet Viral Propaganda

By       Message Richmond Shreve     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 6/3/14

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How can the president of a major nation and society...the one with the most successful economic system in world history, stand and talk about business...when he's never worked for one? Or about jobs...when he has never really had one? And, when it's the same for 92% of his senior staff and closest advisers?They've spent most of their time in academia, government, and/or non-profit jobs.Or...as "community organizers."

They should have been in an employment line.

Pass this on, because we'll NEVER see these facts...in the main stream media!!!

Snopes says the first item is false and traces the origin back to an article in Forbes Magazine two years ago (click the links for the details), " according to Forbes, those states were at 'high risk of a fiscal tailspin' which made them 'danger spots for investors.' As elements of this article made their way around the Internet through various repostings and forwardings, the 'death spiral' label was simplified into one supposedly denoting states in which the number of welfare recipients was greater than the number of employed persons. That isn't what Forbes originally reported, however."

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The cynics among us will attribute the embellishment to a political propaganda conspiracy, but in this case it's more likely to be just partisan embellishment, and memory, and the morphing of the story as it gets retold over the two years it has been circulating. You know from the big type and underlining and use of red (removed by OEN software) for still further emphasis that someone wanted to embellish it visually and may have amplified the story by inventing more "facts."

The comparison of healthcare outcomes is also bogus, and probably made up from a study reported in Lancet, the respected British medical journal. FactCheck.org's article "Cancer Rates and Unjustified Conclusions" details a more rational and complete analysis and concludes that there is no evidence that US medical outcomes are better, and that the Lancet article leads to the opposite conclusion, with few unexplained exceptions.

This part of the viral email appears to be case building on the part of one or more anonymous writers who cherry-picked numbers to bolster their beliefs -- thus connecting selected dots to "prove" their sophist argument.

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As to the matter of the business experience of Obama's cabinet members, according to Salon the actual percentage is 78%, not the 8% claimed in the viral email. This rumor evidently was started by Forbes, and subsequently corrected from 10% to 20% - still far below the actual number. The FOX news crowd jumped on the first number and rounded down, it would seem, as they hyped it. Beck said 10% and Limbaugh said 8% - or maybe he didn't read the FOX talking points all that carefully that day.

It took an hour to debunk this entire viral email. One can waste a lot of time doing research on this stuff, and my point in doing it this time is not to set the record straight -- the original document was not credible. It had all the earmarks of BS: anonymous, forwarded many times, big type and heavy-handed emphasis. The clincher is the last line, "Pass this on, because we'll NEVER see these facts...in the main stream media!!!" Here the whisper-net writer is correct. Main stream media is not anonymous, and generally requires reporters to attribute information to known sources.

The take-away? Be a critical reader, reject the stuff that triggers your skepticism, or fact check it.

* * *

For tips on spotting bogus stories, see Skepticism Triggers in the OEN FAQ section.

(Article changed on June 3, 2014 at 10:07)

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Richmond Shreve is a retired business executive whose careers began in electronics (USN) and broadcasting in the 1960s. Over the years he has maintained a hobby interest in amateur radio, and the audio-visual arts while working in sales and (more...)

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