So it seems that in South Carolina the mayor of Fort Mill, one Danny Funderburk passed on one of the weirder political chain emails that are going around this election season, specifically the one suggesting that Barack Obama is the AntiChrist. He now claims that “I was just curious if there was any validity to it. I was trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up.”
It isn't only in email, tv host Glenn Beck asked pastor John Hagee the question right there on CNN back in March. Unreal. He asked because he said he'd been receiving emails about it, I'd guess it is some variant on the one that the South Carolina mayor was passing around. John Hagee said "no chance that Obama is the AntiChrist." pshew says Glenn Beck, as if this is even an issue worth discussing on national television for goodness sake. Now that's a whisper campaign on steroids! Even if the answer is "no", there are unfortunately a few people out there who will just hear the question as a fact.
My first question about this mayor was whether he used a personal email account and his own time to do this chain email spreading. The Charlotte Observer article says that he used a company email account to send it, so at least he isn't using taxpayer funded email to do this. But still, on a company email account? If you own a company do you really want your employees spreading this kind of crap using the company name? I wouldn't think so.
The very useful fact checking website Politifact has an excellent step by step debunking of the email going around. (and around and around) in case you (or anyone you know) are now worried that Obama is actually the "antichrist"! Politifact also has a specfic section just for , they are that much of a phenomenon this time around.
This is a new phenomenon that political campaigns have to consider strategies on how to handle. These chain emails are pretty powerful, as they are passed from individual to individual. Usually you receive them from someone you know, not just from a political group or specific candidate's campaign. So with the personal contact of email it is more than just being handed a flyer on the street by a stranger, or a whisper campaign by anonymous callers on the phone. There is more implicit credibility to these little gems of disinformation.
Have you gotten any of these chain emails yourself? How have you responded?