Nixon’s dead, but dirty tricks live on

Do I correctly recall that President Bush suggested Republicans and Democrats can work together?

How long ago was that?

Already the right-wing hoax machine is out in force (Swift Boat Veterans again?). A couple of people sent me the latest hoax against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, claiming she was advocating a 100% tax on incomes of the rich. To be really fair and accurate, we need to note the hoax has been circulating since at least October.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in her office

Pelosi didn’t say she favors a 100% tax. The e-mail circulating is a hoax., that grand internet ally for getting the story straight, has a debunking post up.

Here are a few of the victims of the hoax:

It’s almost painful to watch how quickly some people succumb to hoaxes like these. One hopes the perpetrators of the hoaxes get the same twinge of regret that Mencken got from the Fillmore bathtub hoax — but one may be hoping against experience.

So far as I can tell, no one who posted the hoax has yet corrected the post, or noted the error (in a few places, others have written in to note the hoax).

5 Responses to Nixon’s dead, but dirty tricks live on

  1. I doubt that the creator of this rumor will feel the slightest Mencken-like regret. Mencken created his hoax as a way to fill a column and as a joke — I seem to remember he deliberately put in some obviously absurd details so that — he assumed — everyone would know it was a joke.

    This, on the other hand, was done deliberately as an attack on Pelosi. (I do not think it was a Republican group behind it, but one of the even more toxic far right groups, the type the SPLC covers so well. Republicans certainly have demonstrated a cheerful willingness to lie, but this is so off the wall that a professional liar would know it would be debunked immediately.)

    I have to admit that I am stunned to see the list of people who fell for it, and will be checking out these sites to see exactly how dumb they are.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    The Swift Boat Veterans claimed John Kerry had not been a hero in Vietnam, didn’t deserve his Purple Hearts, and had lied about his being in Vietnam and the duties he did.

    Each and every part of those claims was false. As hoaxes go, it was significantly more hoax than Mencken’s claims about Fillmore and bathtubs.

    They have a lot of staying power because the Republican core backed them and formed them. They used a Republican PR firm which has since been hired to push “intelligent design,” for example, and they employed Merrie Spaeth in Dallas as part of their tricks — she goes back a long way with Republicans. They have staying power because they are experienced at dirty tricks, and Republicans use those tricks in campaigns.


  3. NYC Educator says:

    There was a good one from Insight, the extreme-right weblog run by Sun Myung Moon saying Obama went to a madrasa and Hillary leaked it. It traveled to Fox, to CNN, and was finally debunked.

    But who knows how many people believe it anyway?


  4. Bingo says:

    “Already the right-wing hoax machine is out in force (Swift Boat Veterans again?).”

    As “hoax machine”s go, those Swiftees sure have a LOT of staying power. Just what part of their message was a “hoax”?


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