A few months ago had a teachable moment with someone after one of the too many mass shootings of last year. So as not to potentially embarrass anyone, let’s call him ‘Dad’. Our conversation went something like this:
Dad: You wouldn’t believe what Diane Feinstein said about gun control.
Me: Well, what did she say?
Dad: She said that when a gunman, “realizes that nobody else is armed, he will lay down his weapons and turn himself in.”
Me: You are correct. I don’t believe it. Where did you hear that?
Dad: It was on the Internet.
Me: Where on the Internet? It’s a pretty big place.
Dad: On Facebook.
Me: When you see something on Facebook (or anywhere else) and your reaction is that it is unbelievable, it might be because it is unbelievable. Perhaps do a little fact checking.
Okay. Full-disclosure, ‘Dad’ didn’t really say the last line but it certainly was something that did not immediately occur to him upon reading something that to him seemed outrageous.
In about two minutes (with the help of Snopes.com) I found the source of this quote. It is indeed something that Diane Feinstein is quoted as saying but it is a fictional Diane Feinstein a satirical article written by “Ace Cub Reporter Jimmy Olsentwins” (possibly a red flag there).
I wish I had read this article called 4 Sites to Fight Fake News (spoiler-alert: Snopes is one of them) before that conversation with my dad but I am pretty sure I will have the opportunity again. Alas, it’s hard to teach an old dad new tricks….