Why Does Andy Rooney hate blacks?
Why did Hillary refuse to meet with Gold Star mothers?
How could Al Gore not know who Osama bin Laden was when Oliver North mentioned him during the Iran-Contra hearings?
The answers to all the questions are simple. Because the statements aren't true. But truth isn't important when you're trying to feed your team's jones for partisan propaganda..
We get them in the mail almost every day, many times sent to us by people who we once thought had some semblance of common sense.
But even more, why are most everyone of these e-mails right wing knocks against the left. And when I say "Left," I don't mean THEE Left, but anything left of far-right.
The answer is found in its similarity to talk radio. It's about spreading lies to get people to hate people and programs the host hate. And just like talk radio, its audience wants to believe whatever they say to be true. So much so that the ability to reason is lost in the anger that the lies and rumors evoke.
I'm not saying that all those on the right lack smarts, but the part of their brain that detects the crap from the distinct smell of the bull alone, suffers near-fatal dysfunction when that crap supporting their side is squeezed out.
It's why when we write back to our misinformed, forwarding friends, providing proof of the lie, they don't care whether it's true or not. They believe in the message and probably that the target of the e-mail would do worse if given the chance.
But why don't we get many of these e-mail hoaxes lambasting the right? Simple. Why send around false accusations that won't pass the smell test, when there is so much actual inanity coming out of this White House.
It's also why we don't hear much good satire from the right. Making fun of a President and an administration that has provided satirists with a flood of actions that would make for some splendid material, gets a pass from the right. Why? Because the right finds it extremely difficult to make fun of the powerful if it's their powerful. They only want to hear what makes their side come out ahead, even if we're only talking satire. It's why Dennis Miller announced the he would give President Bush a pass because he liked him. He might as well have turned in his satirist's credentials that day.
On the other hand, even though we're pretty sure Jon Stewart himself leans left, he won't miss a shot at the left given a great satirical opportunity.
But this isn't to say that hoaxes don't do any good.
That's why I think it's time to start spreading e-mails to our Republican friends saying Democrats want to change the November 5, 2008 voting date to November 4. With a little luck, they'll refuse to vote until November 5.
Award-winning TV comedy writer Steve Young is the author of
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