June 19, 2005

STILL JUNK (via The Mother Judd):

A Web Hoax, Transformed (AMY HARMON, 6/19/05, NY Times)

"SAVE NPR and PBS," reads an e-mail petition being circulated by MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy group. "Really. Check the footnotes if you don't believe us."

The group was one of dozens to solicit signatures after a House committee voted to cut federal support of National Public Radio and television shows like "Sesame Street." But many found they had to first persuade a jaded Internet citizenry that their petitions were authentic.

That was necessary because, according to folklorists of the online world, two students at the University of Northern Colorado had sent out a similar "Save NPR/PBS" petition way back in 1995, shortly after Republican legislators began a push to eliminate public broadcasting.

What happened next was in some ways characteristic of what happens to information on the Internet: the students' e-mail campaign soon got out of hand. The petition kept circulating, this time as a hoax, long after the threat to public radio and television had disappeared.

Then, in a reminder of the slippery distinction between digital fact and fiction, current events turned the e-mail's oft-debunked but never killed message into reality. In a classically surreal Internet moment, the new e-mail was taken for the bogus old one, and the old one, for many years a hoax, suddenly became true.

How is the notion that the existence of NPR/PBS is threatened not still a hoax?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 19, 2005 8:22 AM

I wish it wasn't a hoax and that NPR/PBS were under a threat.

Posted by: h-man at June 19, 2005 2:16 PM

CBP/NPR/PBS delenda est!

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 19, 2005 3:16 PM

I recieved one of these petitions from an old Peace Corps friend (a lefty, natch).

The funny part to me was where it had originated:

"If you decide not to sign, please don't kill it.
Instead, send it to the email address listed here:

And if you happen to be the 150th, 200th, 250th, etc.,
signer of this petition, please forward a copy to the
above email address. This way we can keep track of the
lists and organize them.

Send this to everyone you know, and help us to keep
these programs alive. Thank you!
Judith Ruderman
Vice Provost for Academic and Administrative Services
220 Allen, Box 90005, Duke University
(919) 684-3296 (phone) (919) 684-4421 (fax)"

OK there Judith. I guess we know who is nextup for having the taxpayer teat yanked away. You too wein2688@blue.univnorthco.edu. Sure hope that by posting this I don't end up filling their inboxes with spam. I am sure they have too much important work to do for their Universities to waste time dealing with spam.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at June 19, 2005 5:34 PM
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