Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Copying a Copy: How to Distort Anyone's Words

How do you paint an advocate of peace into a supporter of terrorism? It is quite simple actually. Just take a statement of his out of context, change the wording and meaning a bit, and then pass on the distorted message to a  few other individuals, each who will add their own additions to it, until you have a completely different message than what was originally said.

Unfortunately, this is a common tactic used by those who wish to promote the idea that a large segment of Americans are "the enemy" and cannot be trusted because they have a different faith.

The same is true with how rumors develop.

When I was younger during Sunday School our teacher whispered a statement in the ear of one of the students and asked the student to whisper it in the ear of the student next to him and so on and so forth. By the time the statement made it to the end of the class, just like a copy of a copy, it did not represent the original statement at all. A statement like "Snickers candy is Sean's favorite " turned into "Sneakers are Candice's favorite Shoes."

Anyone who has attended middle school can easily understand how a message repeated many times by different people can warp into something completely unrepresentative of the original.

Likewise I find it quite amazing how my critics can pass rumors about me back and forth between themselves until they can make very alarming allegations about me which are completely unsupported by anything I actually said or did.

As a 19 year old student of political science, I once made a statement that Hezbollah was a guerrilla organization based on the criteria set out by Michael Walzer, in his book Just and Unjust Wars. I made that statement as a student of political science and it is a statement generally not disputed by political scientists. Then a sensationalist Islamophobe wrote an article claiming that I thus supported Hezbollah. based on that article, another was written that I heart Hezbollah, and based on that an article was written that I love terrorism and Hezbollah, and based on that an article was written claiming I wanted to actually fight with Hezbollah! What dirty tactics! All these claims are piggy backing off each other and depending on one statement I made that they are a guerrilla organizaiton and not a terrorist organization in the traditional sense. Since saying Hezbollah is a guerrilla organization, I have clarified and repeatedly condemned any terrorist attacks committed by the group. Amazing how Islamophobes can distort a statment of me saying hezbollah is a guerrilla organization to saying I love them and wanted to fight with them! That is dishonest and unfounded. Such tactics do not promote sincere honest or helpful dialog. It is the classic Straw Man Argument.

How did these rumors grow? Quite simply, each author ignored the basic element of investigative journalism, and embellished their article which was based on an already written article, based on another article, which was based on another article, which was based on a statement of mine that was twisted and taken out of context.

Lets have more integrity and honesty.

Let us stand together and stop these fearmongerors from attempting to discredit every successful American working to make America a better place to live for all faiths and cultures by distorting his words and message in order to promote fear and hatred of an American religious minority and to promote religious division within society.

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