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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 04:48 PM
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About the New York Times, Fox News, and Kooky Tsunami Conspiracy Theories
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Edited on Wed Jan-05-05 05:02 PM by Skinner
In case some of you missed it, The New York Times and Fox News have recently highlighted DU as ground zero for Kooky Conspiracy Theories regarding the tsunami. The New York Times article is here, and here's a DU thread about Fox News.

They say that all publicity is good publicity, and that is certainly true to some extent. Many of our members found this website because of some negative publicity we got elsewhere. Still, I don't think any of us really appreciate being painted as kooks.

I just emailed a Letter to the Editor to the New York Times. I hope they choose to run it. I think it is only fair, considering that their publication did not bother to contact us about the article when they were writing it.

We probably won't directly contact Fox News. My guess is that it would be a waste of time. But we'll address their report here.

Here's what we want all of you to know about this issue.

The official opinion of the DU Administrators

This should be obvious to everyone, but I'm going to say it anyway so there is no doubt what I believe, and what the other DU administrators believe: The tsunami in Asia was caused by a massive earthquake. This earthquake was a natural result of the movement of tectonic plates, as explained by the Theory of Plate Tectonics.

How we feel about kooky tsunami conspiracy theories

We think they're a bunch of crap, and we believe most -- if not all -- DU members think they're a bunch of crap. We do not wish to see them posted on our website. If anyone posts a kooky tsunami conspiracy theory on our website, we would like to know about it so we can remove it and then investigate the person who posted it as a possible troll.

What you should do if someone posts a kooky tsunami conspiracy theory

Please click the alert link on the post so the moderators can be made aware of it. The moderators will discuss it and decide if it needs to be removed. Do not personally attack people who post such things.

You are encouraged to reply to such posts and explain why they are wrong.

About the New York Times article

As I already mentioned, I have sent a Letter to the Editor to the Times. I am not going to reproduce the letter here, because they expect their letters to be exclusive, not published elsewhere. There are a few points I would like to make, however:

1. The Times never contacted us for comment.

2. The Times failed to mention that the post was completely anonymous, and there is no way of knowing what the person's intention was. The person who posted it was not a donor, so we don't even have a name from a credit card. We have no way of knowing if the person who posted it was a misguided fellow liberal, or a conservative trolling to make us look bad. For all we know, the right-winger over at whizbang blog could have posted it himself. On the Internet, there's just no way of knowing.

3. The Times took the post out of context. If you check the actual post you will see that it has the tone of an innocent question, albeit an ignorant one. The title of the post was "One more dumb question regarding the earthquake in Asia..." In other words, the person who posted it was not claiming it to be true, but was simply proposing it as part of a "dumb question."

4. The Times gave prominent placement to the fact that we were ridiculed on "other sites," but did not mention disagreement from other DUers until much later in the article. I do not know if this was intentional, but it did downplay the fact that almost everyone on DU disagreed with the post.

5. Picking out random anonymous postings on an Internet message board is shoddy journalism. There are so many things posted on the Internet that you could literally write whatever you want and find a quote to support it. One wonders why the author did not spend five minutes over at Free Republic and instead write an article about how conservatives think the tsunami was some sort of retribution from God, or how Muslims deserved it. (More on that later.)

About the Fox News report

Another admin has been home watching Fox News today, and was able to get a video tape of their report. Not surprisingly, it was a disgrace. I am not going to write a transcript, but I'll make a few observations.

Fox News is claiming that someone on Democratic Underground has claimed that the earthquake and tsunami were caused by an underground nuclear explosion. I haven't seen such a post, but this is a big website and I certainly believe it is possible that such a post exists. (If anyone knows where it is, please hit alert so we can make it go away.)

Here's the really underhanded thing about Fox: They're maliciously and deliberately giving their viewers the false impression that this is the official opinion of Democratic Underground. Of course, they aren't coming out and saying it directly, because that would be lying. But they have prepared their report in a manner to give that impression.

They never state that the claim comes from an anonymous posting on our website. Instead, they just report that the claim is being made on the Internet, while showing screenshots from our website. Interestingly, they are showing our homepage as it looked yesterday, when we were running a large graphic with the words "The Hell That is South Asia." They also click on that article and scroll down the page while they are talking. The clear implication is that our article makes this absurd claim, when in fact our article makes no such claim. Read it yourself; no conspiracy theories there.

On a side note, the Fox News report claims that such kooky claims are hurting our international reputation. Never mind the fact that Fox News is the mass medium which is reporting these kooky claims to the world. Methinks they might have another agenda here.

So, what's going on here?

Some people have speculated that The New York Times and Fox News are attacking us because they have decided that Democratic Underground is a threat. I don't buy it.

I don't think Democratic Underground is a threat. But I do think that some people have figured out that they can use extreme posts from Democratic Underground to paint all Democrats as extremists.

This is nothing new. Right-wing websites and radio programs have been doing it to us for years: Pick out something extreme from an anonymous message board, and then post it on your own site as "proof" that liberals are nuts. In fact, if you can't find something extreme enough, then all you have to do is create an anonymous login and post some extreme stuff yourself. (To be clear, I'm not accusing the Times or Fox News of doing this. But it does happen.)

Anyway, it appears that this type of thing is no longer limited to right-wing websites. Now we're seeing "mainstream" news outlets engaging in this kind of lazy, underhanded reporting.

But as long as they're writing this stuff, here's some helpful info:

From Free Republic

If any lazy, underhanded journalist wants to write an article smearing all conservatives as insensitive racists who cheer the deaths of non-white people in the tsunami, here are some quotes for you:

"Jesus Christ would not aprove of giving money to people to build houses again in an area that is.... lets face it...prone to this activity. Nothing in the Bible does it say "Blessed are the Stupid. The government taking money from you and I and giving it away is not charity. It is forced slavery of You and I." --Radioactive

"I was looking up a map of the affected areas and Indonesia seems to have been hit hardest. From the CIA World Fact Book, Indonesia is 88% muslim. Sometimes foreign aid money is well spent (goodwill, political influence, etc), but giving it to a muslim country is a waste." --benjaminjjones

"So just give money to our "allies". Indonesia gets nothing. Let the ragheads take care of their own." --benjaminjjones

"This is what I want to give to them: (Picture me shaking my hands up in the air singing..... LALALLALALALLLLLLAAAAALLALALLALALALLL). Just like they did when they celebrated 9-11. By the way...did any countries donate anything to our hurricane funds?" --benice

Much more here: U.S. Should Not Help Tsunami Victims

And then there's this one, blaming the tsunami on, well, you'll see...

Everyone is knocking the Muslims for asking the question why God allowed this to happen, but that is actually a very good question. Though, the speculation given here cannot be substantiated.

As far as I know, there were no prophets warning of this impending disaster. If there had been, who would have listened?

They are also correct in believing that God is angry with the wickedness of fornication and sodomy that is becoming more widespread in our world. Jesus warned that in the last days, before His return, the world would be like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Unfortunately for the clerics, God is also angry with the false prophets and promoters of false religions like theirs.

I am not sure why God allowed this disaster. I know it His mercy that preserves all of our lives, but we rarely ask why about the good days. We just take those for granted.

The days are coming when God's real judgment and wrath will be poured out. And this tsunami will look like a picnic. Because of the murder (including abortion and euthanasia), theft, adultery, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, drunkenness and drug abuse, and for shedding the blood of His prophets and saints, God will pour out His fiery wrath on this world unlike it ever has been before. In two quick strokes, half of the earth's population will be destroyed. And this will not be the end. Imagine: not tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions, but BILLIONS DEAD. Can you imagine those headlines, if anyone is left to write them? People will become a scarce commodity like gold. And for all of this, there are some who still will not repent to give God glory.

Have a nice day, everyone." --unlearner
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