On Facebook on April 1, I said something like, “Christmas is the one day of the year when we use our hearts. April Fool’s is the one day we use our reason.” I don’t think people got it; a lot thought I meant, “Sit around and brainstorm on a really good prank.” No, what I meant was, if you see a report of something on any day of the year, exercise some skepticism before filing it away as a “fact.”
Anyway, I’m trying to follow my own advice with the Nevada Bundy Ranch standoff. For example, a lot of people in my social networking circles are relaying matter-of-factly that the BLM has shut off local cell tower service and that a commissioner said people coming in to help should make “funeral plans.”
Well, on the cell phone claim, this story has an UPDATE that says:
[Update #3] We are hearing that cell service is not down and a member of the Bundy family has been contacted to verify that cell service is up and working. No explanation given as to why it was not working for some and seems to work fine for others, other than possibly hot spot issues. Will update if further information becomes available.
And as far as the commissioner saying incoming supporters need to prepare for a funeral, the source of that is a Facebook post by Utah commissioner Darin Bushman who wrote:
I was just told by commissioner Collins of Clark County NV that all of us folks from Utah are a bunch of “inbred bastards” and if we are coming to Clark [County] NV to support Cliven Bundy we all “better have funeral plans”. We should “turn our asses around on mind our own f-ing business”. Now there’s some classy leadership for you.
Now maybe the guy really did say that; here’s media coverage of the incident, and the writer doesn’t quote Collins as denying that he uttered those words in his private conversation.
Anyway, I just wish everybody would exercise a tad of due diligence before hitting Share or especially making a “meme” poster with “facts” that might not even be true. It takes literally a minute to Google something and see how plausible it is, or what the broader context is.