An article on the Science News website reports on growing academic study of the spread of misinformation via social media such as Twitter. There is evidence that it goes beyond the usual rumor-mongering we’ve long seen in chain emails and their photocopying-based and word-of-mouth antecedents and now includes a lot of deliberate disinformation spread by political partisans. Obviously not good for democracy.
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), a medical doctor, undergrad chemistry major, and member of the House Science Committee, gave a banquet speech last month in which he declared, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,” adding that he thinks the Earth is only about 9,000 years old. (A post at Talking Points Memo has the details including a brief video clip and a link to the full speech.) One of Rep. Broun’s colleagues on the House Science Committee is Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who made national news a few weeks ago by weirdly claiming that “legitimate” (by which he later said he meant “forcible”) rape almost never leads to pregnancy because women’s bodies have ways to prevent it.
And if you can stand yet more “Gangnam Style” parodies, here we have “President Mitt Romney Style” and “Vote Obama Style”: