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How To Respond To Right Wing Viral Emails

My friends and family of the right wing persuasion have finally figured out to take me off their distribution lists for those viral emails that circul

My friends and family of the right wing persuasion have finally figured out to take me off their distribution lists for those viral emails that circulate about the internets. It was a lesson hard taught, because I felt obliged to obsessively research the facts and then reply to those emails, systematically destroying the wingnut talking points. You humiliate those wingnuts enough times, and they take you off their email lists.

Now, not everyone has the OCD to research and debunk these talking points, nor the need to be so...well, frankly, confrontational. So for people like that (you know, the ones much nicer than me), Media Matters has created an action site just for you. In it, they take some of the common viral emails--and then write responses to them, debunking the lies and very politely suggesting that the sender might want to use that gray matter lodged in his noggin for more than regurgitating Hannity. (I paraphrase, of course)

For example:



Date: Saturday, August 01, 2009 6:18 AM

Subject: Fw: Senior's death warrent


The actress Natasha Richardson died after falling skiing in Canada. It took eight hours to drive her to a hospital. If Canada had our healthcare she might be alive today. We now have helicopters that would have gotten her to the hospital in 30 minutes. Obama wants to have our healthcare like Canada's and England's.

In England anyone over 59 cannot receive heart repairs or stents or bypass because it is not covered as being too expensive and not needed.

I got this today and am sending it on. If Obama's plans in other areas don't scare you, this should.

Please do not let Obama sign senior death warrants.

Everybody that is on this mailing list is either a senior citizen, is getting close or knows somebody that is.

Most of you know by now that the Senate version (at least) of the "stimulus" Bill includes provisions for extensive rationing of health care for senior citizens.

The author of this part of the bill, former senator and tax evader, Tom Daschle was credited today by Bloomberg with the following statement.

Bloomberg: Daschle says "health-care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them."

If this does not sufficiently raise your ire, just remember that Senators and Congressmen have their own healthcare plan that is first dollar or very low co-pay which they are guaranteed the remainder of their lives and are not subject to this new law if it passes.

Please use the power of the Internet to get this message out. Talk it up at the grassroots level.... We have an election coming up in one year and nine months. We have the ability to Address and reverse the dangerous direction the Obama administration and it allies have begun and in the interim, we can make their lives miserable.

Lets do it! If you disagree, don't do anything.

Media Matters' response?

Hey, thanks for forwarding along that email.

It's nuts how many rumors are swirling around out there about the health bills. It's hard to know which ones are true and which ones are just crazy internet rumors.

If this one were true, I'd be pretty upset - so I decided to see if I could find out for myself.

It turns out Tom Daschle never even said that about "seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age." Apparently that quote actually comes from a woman who is adamantly against any health care improvements named Betsy McCaughey. When a reporter confronted her about the chain email, even she admitted it wasn't true, saying "I regret any misrepresentations made by others of my work or Mr. Daschle's views."

You can read it yourself here:

As for Natasha Richardson, that was heartbreaking. I remember when I heard, I couldn't believe it! But the email lies about her already tragic situation.

It did take a while for her to visit a hospital, but that's because she initially said she wasn't hurt. A Bloomberg news story said "She initially laughed off her fall and said she was fine." And Fox News says the first ambulance that showed up was even turned away.

A few hours later she was taken to a hospital when she got a headache, but by then it was too late.

If you want to know more, you can read these articles:,2933,509749,00.html

As for England, I found a cool website called that examined the claim about "England anyone over 59 cannot receive heart repairs or stents or bypass because it is not covered as being too expensive and not needed." They said that just wasn't true.

But all of that should be irrelevant - because no one even wants Canada's health care system. The president and Democrats in congress know that we have been paying too much, for too long, for too little and are trying to find a "uniquely American solution" to control costs.

The same website actually shows that this entire email is pretty much made up, check it out:

All these emails going around are pretty scary, but it's important to figure out if they're true. After doing some research, I can say for sure this one is filled with lies.

See? Much nicer than I would have been (and far fewer swear words), and yet, still getting the truth out there.

Go check out MM's Email Checker. If you've received a viral email that you don't see, you are welcome to send it to Media Matters so they can add it to their collection and give you a response.

Can you help us out?

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