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Monday, September 10, 2012

Always Check the Facts

I'm a fiction writer. I make up stories that are not true, although even in fiction the characters, setting, and so forth must appear real.

Many have noted that truth is crazier than fiction, and strangely enough that often seems to be the case. However, an email message I received the other day left me speechless.

Here's what it said:

"In the Muslim religion, dogs are unclean and not allowed to travel in the same vehicle as the Muslim.

Bo has never traveled in the same means of transportation with the First Family."

Um ... really?


This is the season for politics and crazy political messages abound.

While it is true that politicians on both sides frequently state half-truths or distort the statistics to their own advantage, there are some things I've received in email that are so fantastic, they resemble fairy tales.

Yes, it is great to support your favorite political candidate, but before you hit send, at least check to see if the facts are correct. Otherwise, the lies and distortions are perpetuated.

And really...I hate to see lies and distortions being tossed about. Lies and distortions are my business and must be carefully crafted. I write much better lies than whoever is making up some of these wacky political propaganda messages.

The website I usually go to first to check wild rumors is They have an one entire page dedicated to myths about President Obama, another one dedicated to Mitt Romney, and more pages for other well-known politicians.

Snopes is not the only fact-checking website. You can go to for plenty of concise information on what's real and what's not.

An awesome site is PolitiFact. This one has the Truth-O-Meter. You can add the app to your cellphone! In seconds, you can discover whether a political candidate has spoken the truth, a half-truth, something false, or something truly wild--real pants on fire stuff.

I know everyone makes mistakes. Politicians in their zeal to win voters to their side are often caught twisting facts. Concerned voters have a right to know exactly which facts were scrambled in the endless rhetoric spewed from the podium, but it is highly unlikely you will find truth in a forwarded email.

I write fiction, but when it comes to political truth, I want the real thing.

Oh. And don't forget to vote. :^)

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