You may remember a poll a few years ago that showed 70 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 (as recently as June of 2007 40 percent still do), or the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry in 2004. Who believes these outlandish things? Stupid people who don’t seem to be able to pick up a newspaper.

This election cycle has its own crazed bits of propaganda similar to the Swift Boat campaign, or the push polling about McCain’s out-of-wedlock African-American child. The bizarre attacks, primarily being tossed around by Fox News, this time surround Barack Obama, and the only people who seem to be swallowing the Kool-Aid are some pretty uninformed voters, most recently in Indiana, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

Take a look at a couple of the responses the Daily News got on the ground in Indiana leading up to the primary earlier this week:

* “I’m kind of still up in the air between McCain and Hillary… I’ll be honest with you. Barack scares the hell out of me… He swore on the Koran.”
* “I can’t stand him… He’s a Muslim. He’s not even pro-American as far as I’m concerned.”

Hoax e-mails long ago debunked and — we thought — forgotten are still informing the decisions of some folks in the suburban and rural midwest, according to the Daily News. The e-mails that have been circulating claim alternately that he’s a Muslim, that he’s a radical racist Christian, that he’s unpatriotic, that he refuses to say the pledge of allegiance, or that he’s a communist. How can all of these things be true? They can’t, but that doesn’t stop some lazy people from believing anything they read in an e-mail.

So how does one stop oneself from becoming part of the problem? Double check “facts” from e-mails with reputable news sources like the Associated Press (AP) or Reuters. Or follow some basic guidelines for skepticism laid out by And the next time you get a poorly spelled e-mail from Kofi Annan claiming that Barack Obama ate a cheese burger with Osama Bin Laden in front of a village of starving children, listen to that little voice in the back of your head that says “that can’t be true.” [Source: NY Daily News, via: Wired]

Is there a slang word for those types that continue to forward hoax e-mails over and over again? Well, I can’t think of one so I will come up with my own. I like “e-creder” – short for “e-mail credophile“.

So will this country continue on the wrong path because e-creders are allowed to use the internet? When e-creders get forwarded e-mails claiming Obama is a Muslim they believe it without batting an eye, just like any other forwarded hoax, and then they forward this bunk to all their gullible friends. This presidential election could be won by the Republicans because of the ease at which false information can be spread. How ironic that with the rise of the internet, which can be such a great tool for learning and spreading good information, has turned out to be a much better tool for e-creders to disseminate false information. Will this problem only continue to get worse as a larger numbers of e-creders obtain access to internet? Unfortunately, I think so. Currently there are numerous tools to protect internet users from malicious programs, SPAM, and hackers. But until they come up with a tool that filters out the false information, propaganda, and hoax forwards, the e-creders may wield control over who gets elected for decades to come.

UPDATE: Obama launches Web site to fight rumors