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In response to WhatsIt:
I recommend you follow your own advice -- David and Barbara Mikkelson do *not* live in the San Fernando Valley (and never have), they're *not* Jewish (not that it would matter to anyone except a bigot), and they specifically state in the site FAQ that readers should do their own research.
See, for instance, http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/... and http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/inte....
You could also try writing to the Mikkelsons and asking them, instead of spreading precisely that sort of "questionable" rumor.
And here's what David Mikkelson himself says: http://tinyurl.com/6zq4yc
I don't think people who have been interviewed extensively for over a decade are exactly "hiding," do you?
Yes, we've certainly made our share of mistakes as a newspaper. The difference is we publish corrections and do our best to verify information. People passing along chain e-mails do neither.
...of course, those few "sources of information" are just as questionable. The info below has been disseminated via the internet and makes a good point relevant to this blog.
For the past few years www.snopes.com has positioned itself, or others have labeled it, as the 'tell-all final word' on any comment, claim and email.
However, for several years people tried to find out who exactly was behind snopes.com. Only recently did Wikipedia get to the bottom of it - kinda makes you wonder what the big deal was. Well, finally we know. It is run by a husband and wife team - that's right - no big office of investigators and researchers, or team of lawyers. It's just a mom-and-pop operation that began as a hobby.
David and Barbara Mikkelson in the San Fernando Valley of California started the website about 13 years ago - and they have no formal background or experience in investigative research. After a few years it gained popularity believing it to be unbiased and neutral, but over the past couple of years people started asking questions who was behind it and did they have a selfish motivation?
The reason for the questions - or skepticisms - is a result of snopes.com claiming to have the bottom line facts to certain questions or issue when in fact they have been proven wrong. Also, there are criticisms the Mikkelsons were not really investigating and getting to the 'true' bottom of various issues.
Then it has been learned the Mikkelson's are very Democratic party and extremely liberal. As we all now know from this presidential election, liberals have a purpose agenda to discredit anything that appears to be conservative. There has been much criticism lately over the internet with people pointing out the Mikkelson's liberalism revealing itself in their website findings. Gee, what a shock? So, I say this now to everyone who goes to www.snopes.com to get what they think to be the bottom line facts...'proceed with caution.' Take what it says at face value and nothing more. Use it only to lead you to their references where you can link to and read the sources for yourself. Plus, you can always google a subject and do the research yourself. It is apparent that is all the Mikkelson's do as well. Happy 'rumor-wrangling'!!
In my line of work I get a lot of E[xcrement]-mail like this. If I can't find anything about it on Snopes or About.com Urban legends, I apply the 3P test of "Possibility, Plausibility and Probability" to it. If it passes that test I still don't forward it because I just don't like to forward stuff around. But if I find it to be a rumor I notify the sender and his address book by replying to 'all.'
With some of the stuff we treat as true from our E-mail, we have no room to bash the folks from the middle ages who believed there were headless men with their faces on their chests living in Africa!
Well played, Bighorn.
Unfortunately, I am amazed by how many people don't do that and pass along such garbage. Why are people so easily fooled? We need some sort of educational campaign about relying on trusted sources for information.
I recieved that email from a bud in the DFW area about a month ago. I replied that it was "news to me" and as far as I knew pure BS. One way to stop the email from circulating, I suppose.
Evidently her snopes doesn't work as well as mine does.
I heard that story originally several years ago. But I don't recall it being attributed to Victoria.