On “Fox and Friends,” the discussion turned to the liberal left and the attempt to get rid of Christian holidays. Here’s what Sarah Palin said, copied and pasted right from the Drudge Report website:
“It makes me so gosh darn angry. The liberal left in this country has targeted Christian holidays and is trying to secularize them right out of existence. When Jesus celebrated Easter with his disciples there were no Easter bunnies or egg hunts. There were no Easter sales at department stores or parades in the street. Easter was a special time of prayer and Christian activism.
“Jesus would gather all the townspeople around and would listen to their stories about the meaning of Easter in their lives. Then he would teach them how to love one another, how to protest Roman abortion clinics and how to properly convert homosexuals.
“You can’t even do things like that these days without getting called out by some wacko left-wing human rights group. Christians had more freedom under Roman rule than we do now in our own country! We need to return Easter back to the way it was when Jesus was alive.”
CNN’s Piers Morgan had the story. So did a lot of other outlets. Just one problem. A big problem. She never said it. It was a spoof from The Daily Currant.
Even worse, the story was told to me as a poll that reported there were Christians who thought Jesus celebrated Easter. There are two lessons here. The first harkens back to the kindergarten game of “Telephone.” The kids all sat in a circle and the teacher whispered something in the first child’s ear. That child then whispered it to the next, and so on until the last child heard the secret. What the last child reported as the “secret” was nothing close to what the teacher told the first child. As stories make their way from person, they change. When someone tells you something that doesn’t ring true, check it out.
The second lesson concerns the Internet. It’s not as bad as “Telephone,” but stories do change, because people change them to suit their own agendas and prejudices before they send them to your inbox. I used to get quite a few of them, but I always took a minute or two to do a little research, and most of the time I was able to debunk the story. I guess I was a killjoy, because I got fewer and fewer of those chain emails, until they finally stopped.
There are two great resources I depend on to verify stuff I hear or read that sounds fishy to me. Snopes.com gave me the source of the Palin story. The other is Politifact.com. Bookmark them both and people will have a hard time pulling the wool over your eyes.
Next time, politicians really saying things that are stupid.