Thursday, February 16, 2006

Spreading Lies

It's both amusing and depressing when conservative talk radio personalities demonstrate their gullibility on national radio. I was listening to The Savage Nation (yes, I like to torture myself that way) on my way home from dance practice tonight, and Michael Savage actually shared the contents of a chain letter that he received as if it were the truth.

The gist of the letter is that during the Senate hearings over the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987, Al Gore asked Oliver North why he bought a $60,000 security system. Oliver supposedly answered that he needed it because he needed to protect his family from Osama bin Laden, who he said was "the most evil person alive that I know of".

This story is BS on many levels.

For one thing, Al Gore was not on the United States Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, so he never questioned Oliver North on the subject. The questioner was actually the committee counsel, John Nields.

Second (and relatively insignificant), Oliver North did purchase a security system with money acquired from his Iran-Contra activities, but it cost only $16,000.

Third, while he did claim that he needed the security system to protect his family from a terrorist, the terrorist that he named was Libyan terrorist Abu Nidal, not Osama bin Laden, who was an American ally at the time fighting with the Muja-Hadeen against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Savage was also peddling the equally false story that the US insisted that the Israelis free Mohammed Atta from prison, allowing him to mastermind the September 11th attack. There was some confusion, but Mahmoud Atta, the person extradited to Israel in 1990 is a different person who is still serving a life sentence in Israel.

It took mere seconds for me to do a basic fact-check on these stories through, but Michael Savage apparently wasn't inclined to do a pathetically easy fact check on information he received from a chain letter if it seemed to back his anti-Islamic rhetoric.

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