Saturday, October 21, 2000

Ford On the Mend/Internet Hoaxes

Ford On the Mend/Internet Hoaxes

Posted By on Sat, Oct 21, 2000 at 4:00 AM

Former U.S. Representative Harold Ford Sr., who was hospitalized for two days at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after suffering from chest pains, was released from the hospital Thursday, and arrived in home-town Memphis in late afternoon to chow down at an East Memphis barbecue rally for the Democratic ticket.

Professing to be "fine" (though not quite ready to hit the stump at the rally for one of his patented fire-breathing speeches), Ford displayed scars on his left leg -- the result, he said, of a freak accident involving his car. "I don't have heart disease," the former congressman said, maintaining that his chest pains were the result of "blood thinner" prescribed as a prophylactic against the possibility of clots stemming from the accident.

Ford, now a consultant with a large clientele in the health-care industry, will repair to a house he owns in Florida for some R and R this weekend.

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Bush Uber Alles?

One of the more extravagant claims of this or any other election season was made at the Thursday night rally by State Representative Joe Towns of Whitehaven, one of the serial speakers, who at one point in exhorting the parking lot crowd at Eastgate, informed them that the Bush family, a few generations back, had been instrumental in supporting Adolf Hitler. ! ! !

Towns did not elaborate, but other Democrats later on said they had seen some such report "on the Internet."

Haven for Hoaxes

More and more, the Internet is cited as the authority for this or that hoax that makes the rounds. The 2000 political season has been rife with them.

Virtually anybody who both owns a computer and keeps up with party politics received a "pass-it-on" email recently from a friend who had received it beforehand from an equally gullible person, to the effect that there was a plot in Republican ranks to dump vice-presidential pick Dick Cheney and replace him with either John McCain or General Colin Powell.

The purpose of the "pass-in-on" injunction was to foil the plot by giving it maximum publicity . There never was any such undertaking, of course, and Cheney's good showing in his debate with Democrat Joe Lieberman put that one to rest in any case.

Another hoax, this one directed at Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, was passed by Republican cadres, who gave credence to the canard that Gore, in a recent speech, had inadvertently cited the scripture John 16:3 rather than the better known John 3:16. John 16:3 has Jesus saying "And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me." A real boo-boo, huh?

It never happened. Another Internet hoax, and when Cherrie Holden, a West Tennessee communications coordinator for Bush-Cheney, realized she'd been had, she had the integrity to circulate another email on her network explaining the hoax and apologizing both to her GOP readers and to Gore.

The odds are much better than good that the "Bush-Hitler Connection" is yet another Internet hoax.

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The Package?

Something of a flap developed over the last couple of days between right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the ladies of daytime TV's The View.

Seems they found the current issue of Rolling Stone-- or at least its cover, which features a frontal view of a casually clad, windblown Al Gore-- something of a rouser. "The package," Barbara Walters, Meredith Viera, Star Jones et al. kept bragging about.

Limbaugh, doing an upright Bill Bennett number, chided them for "hypocrisy."

To see the cover shot and get a sense of the controversy, go to www.Rollingstone.com or to www.tennpolitics.com. (You can write Jackson Baker at baker@memphisflyer.com)

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