The interwebz is an amazing communications medium that allows us to share information with each other, but at the same time it can function as a disinformation or misinformation clearing house for those who are ignorant or who have an agenda. Misinformation is simply false information spread by people who don’t know any better. Disinformation is false information which is deliberately spread around by those with an agenda. In other words, liars who are up to no good. There is plenty of both on the internet, and plenty of cyberchumps who eat up every bit of it and take it at face value.
At SOFREP, we are constantly being asked to verify information, new stories, and those who claim to be veterans. On one hand, we set this site up to be a sort of public interface that helps to put out accurate information. On the other hand, there is just so much nonsense out there that we cannot possibly respond to all of it. We try to only get involved in those instances where we can make a difference regarding issues where there is genuine confusion. I try to brush aside the black helicopter stuff as not being worth our time.
We get lots of great tips and feedback from readers, but we also get inundated with gonzo craziness. Here is a sample of what some people want us to respond to…
- Navy SEALs going to intimidate Black Panthers who intimidate voters
- Navy SEALs at the Boston bombing
- Soldiers can be court martialed for sharing their faith
- SEAL killed in secret mission to Iran
Bullshit! All of these articles are exaggerations, misconceptions, or straight up lies. Notice a common theme here? SEALs are in the limelight like never before, and everyone wants to hitch their wagon and piggyback their agenda on the success and popularity of the Naval Special Warfare community. You will find the same with Army units, but to a lesser extent at the moment because of SEALs being at the forefront of popular media with movies, video games, and books.
Here is one that even got me to do a double take. I have spoken with many Vietnam veterans who have told me that, in their opinion, there were American soldiers who voluntarily stayed in Vietnam after going AWOL and integrated into the Vietnamese culture.
Well low and behold, MACV-SOG vets Billy Waugh and John Meyer both confirm that the above story is a complete hoax. The documentary is trying to establish credibility on the basis of a massive fraud. Before you run off with this stuff, think about how dumb you are going to look for not fact-checking first. We have previous experience with this sort of thing. Consider previous experience, because people were coming unglued over…
- General Ham was relieved over Benghazi
- GRS operators had lazed targets for an AC-130 gunship overhead and were denied
- GRS operators at the annex were ordered to “stand down” by the POTUS and not go to the consulate
More falsehoods, more politically motivated nonsense. Here is my advice: when you read a story, ask yourself who that story is targeting and who is it directed to? Next, ask yourself who would find that story emotionally satisfying. Is it you? If so think about that for a moment and consider if the conclusions are based on emotions and confirmation bias. If you already believe that the President is the second coming of Chairmen Mao, then it is pretty easy to believe that he would calously order that our men be left to die in Benghazi. But, if you know anything about how the government actually works, you would know that Obama wasn’t directing traffic that night. I don’t like the dude either, but this isn’t a pet issue to hang your hat on for some cheap political capital.
The truth is to valuable and too precious to waste on something so crass and superficial.