where are all the damn liberal viral emails and why do I keep getting the rightwing ones instead?

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by — Posted in Neal's Rants (Mostly Political)

A self-fulfilling prophecy is “a pre­dic­tion that di­rectly or in­di­rectly causes it­self to be­come true by the very terms of the prophecy it­self [and] due to pos­i­tive feed­back be­tween be­lief and be­hav­ior. So­ci­ol­o­gist Robert K. Mer­ton is cred­ited with coin­ing the ex­pres­sion and for­mal­iz­ing its struc­ture and con­se­quences.

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the be­gin­ning, a false de­f­i­n­i­tion of the sit­u­a­tion evok­ing a new be­hav­iour which makes the orig­i­nal false con­cep­tion come true.

In other words, a pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive prophecy, strongly held be­lief, or delusion—declared as truth when it is ac­tu­ally false—may suf­fi­ciently in­flu­ence peo­ple so that their re­ac­tions ul­ti­mately ful­fill the once-false prophecy.” (Wikipedia)

Self-fulfilling prophecies—ideas that be­come re­al­ity sim­ply be­cause some­one be­lieves them—do not usu­ally have strong ef­fects. But a study shows that ex­pec­ta­tions may come to pass when many peo­ple hold the same beliefs—if those be­liefs are un­fa­vor­able.” (Psy­chol­ogy To­day)

Hitler's Mein Kampf tops Amazon in sales!

I re­ceived an ar­ti­cle ti­tled “Fake Con­tro­versy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Dig­i­tal Best­seller” by David Gaugh­ran in his emailed newslet­ter (Jan­u­ary 16, 2014). Here are abridged sec­tions of the open­ing para­graphs:

A juicy story broke last week, the kind that makes savvy sub-editors sali­vate over po­ten­tial Twitter-bait head­li­nes. It had been dis­cov­ered that Hitler’s Mein Kampf was a dig­i­tal best­seller, lead­ing to a global bout of me­dia hand-wringing and pon­tif­i­cat­ing.

Hitler’s 'best­selling' per­for­mance was first re­ported un­der the head­line “Kindle Führer: Mein Kampf Tops Ama­zon Charts” (Jan­u­ary 7, 2014). Then spread like wild­fire. If you look at Google, you will see pages and pages and pages of blogs, web­sites, and me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions re­peat­ing the same story.”

As of 7:24 am on Jan­u­ary 26, 2014, un­der “hitler mein kampf best­seller” Google lists 160,000 such sites re­port­ing on this phe­nom­e­non. Mr. Gaugh­ran lists sev­eral well-known web­sites, tele­vi­sion sta­tions, news­pa­pers, and even other coun­tries that re­gur­gi­tated the news.

Ex­cept, as David noted, “The only prob­lem with this story is that it’s not true. At all.”

He then pro­ceeds to doc­u­ment his ar­gu­ment that, through “the per­fect storm of juicy topic + speed news spreads on Twit­ter + lazy jour­nal­ism” this fake news story/controversy was born—immediately af­ter the story hit the me­dia, sales of Mein Kampf mul­ti­plied tenfold—and rather quickly died. “Now that the white hot heat of global me­dia at­ten­tion has moved onto some­thing else, Mein Kampf is quickly head­ing back to where it was—selling a hand­ful a day.”

Not everyone is duped with over and over again . . . really!

That such a story was in­vented should sur­prise few of us. That it was picked up im­me­di­ately, with­out the dis­crim­i­nat­ing eye of a skep­tic and placed on tens of thou­sands of web­sites . . . well, it hap­pens all the time.

This is why so many peo­ple laugh away any at­tempt to use the in­ter­net as a source for facts that back up opin­ions or ar­gu­ments. And, with events like, jus­ti­fi­ably so—at least to those peo­ple.

Of course, not every­one is duped with reg­u­lar­ity.

Mr. Gaugh­ran notes that the story was run by Huff­in­g­ton Post, Sa­lon, and Slate—all sites NOT given to ex­trem­ism and jumping-on-the-bandwagonism, and cer­tainly not to any of the inane/insane ru­mors that seem to be the daily grist of rightwing blogs and mass-emailers. (I am not ad­dress­ing the print and tele­vised me­dia the Gaugh­ran men­tions in this piece.)

Abra­ham Lin­coln once said that “You can fool all the peo­ple some of the time, and some of the peo­ple all the time, but you can­not fool all the peo­ple all the time.” That may or may not have been true in the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tury, but it cer­tainly isn't so at the be­gin­ning of the 21st cen­tury!

I am still waiting for my first liberal viral email!

A vi­ral email is a cer­tain kind of email which rapidly prop­a­gates from per­son to per­son, gen­er­ally in a word-of-mouth man­ner. Vi­ral emails may arise in a num­ber of sit­u­a­tions, but the process is rel­a­tively sim­ple: an in­di­vid­ual re­ceives an email—often of a po­lit­i­cal or hu­mor­ous nature—and for­wards the email to friends.

They do the same, and thus rapidly spread the email, in po­ten­tially world­wide pro­por­tion. A com­mon com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tion for vi­ral emails is that of the vi­ral ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign: pro­mo­tional emails are specif­i­cally cre­ated so that they fol­low a vi­ral prop­a­ga­tion.” (Wikipedia)

When of a po­lit­i­cal na­ture, the term vi­ral email is also un­der­stood by most of us that, said email of­ten con­tains out­right lies and defama­tion of char­ac­ter. That is, it is com­pletely de­void of truth, in­tegrity, and hon­est in­ten­tions.

I am on dozens of email newslet­ters that are of a De­mo­c­ra­tic and/or lib­eral and/or pro­gres­sive na­ture, or­ga­ni­za­tions that I affectionately—and with a mod­icum of pride—describe as “bleed­ing heart lib­eral.”

I say this to make it un­der­stood that if there are “lib­eral” or­ga­ni­za­tions send­ing out mass vi­ral emails, then I am a per­fect re­cip­i­ent for each and every one of them.

Yet I have never re­ceived a liberal/leftwing vi­ral email nor do I know of any­one else who has!

But I do re­ceive lots of rightwing vi­ral emails (di­rectly and in­di­rectly from my con­ser­v­a­tive ac­quain­tances) and my-o-my these peo­ple know no shame. And you know what? Every Re­pub­li­can voter that I know swal­lows every cock-and-bull piece of out­right pro­pa­ganda they re­ceive, hook, line, and the prover­bial sinker.

For a re­cent ex­am­ple, please click on over to an­other post­ing: “it ain’t what you know that gets you into trou­ble” from a cou­ple of weeks ago.

Hence we have 55,000,000 Amer­i­cans qual­i­fied to vote who be­lieve in such ob­vi­ous fab­ri­ca­tions as trickle-down eco­nom­ics, wel­fare queens, weapons-of-mass-destruction in Iraq, that Pres­i­dent Obama is a Mus­lim so­cial­ist, death pan­els in the Af­ford­able Care Act, and the state of Hawaii “pay­ing” its cit­i­zens who are on wel­fare more than $60,000 a year!

And the old trickle-down theory is just that—old!

Fi­nally, a cer­tain cowboy/movie actor/social com­men­ta­tor (sound fa­mil­iar?) once ob­served, “The money was all ap­pro­pri­ated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trick­led up. Give it to the peo­ple at the bot­tom and the peo­ple at the top will have it be­fore night, any­how. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.” – Will Rogers (1932)

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