Friday, July 18, 2008

Origin of a Rumor

Ever hear the phrase 'terrorist fist jab' to describe Obama's knuckle bump? It was news to me that terrorists also used this friendly, rather trendy gesture. It came from a lone, unknown commenter:

A commenter to a Cal Thomas story at the Human Events website made the assertion. The initial comment was deleted, but reaction comments, almost all rebuking the comment, stayed on the website. Someone at Fox News, reading the comments on the deleted comment, assumed that it was a legitimate meme though it was merely proffered by a lone commenter. Somehow this made it to Fox News anchor E.D. Hill, who noted on air that some 'in the media' considered the fist bump a terrorist fist jab, though she was the first to bring this to the attention of the world. Then people reacted to her reaction, and the idea that 'some people' consider this a 'terrorist fist jab' was born.

Commenters of the World, Unite!


Michael F. Martin said...

Classic misinformation cascade in the wild. Thanks for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, although I would be more impressed if someone could come up with an anecdote where a single comment had a *constructive* effect.