Charles Martin, keeper of an extensive list of claims regarding Sarah Palin, put up a thoughtful article today regarding the Palin rumor mill. He lists a couple of debunkings from this site as well as distills some principles for evaluating rumors during the political season.
What it does teach us, though, is to watch out for people reporting these rumors as fact. The old newspaper adage was “if your mother tells you she loves you, get a second source.” So here are some new ones — useful any time, but especially useful on these political rumors:
Any time you hear about a budget “cut,” check the previous year’s budget.
Consistently, every rumor about Palin cutting a budget has turned out to be an increase that was smaller than someone asked for.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
This applies to a lot of the rumors on both sides, frankly. “Obama is a secret Muslim.” “Palin was a member of a secessionist party.” “Obama wasn’t born in the USA.” “McCain wasn’t born in the USA.” This applies especially to stories that match your preconceptions.
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
The bigger the surprise would be, the less likely it’s true.
Applying these to most all the Palin and Obama rumors would have saved a lot of pixels over the last two years.
Given that I have investigated several of these Palin rumors, I am going to soon put the links all on one page so I can add and modify them as needed.