Anti-Obama Rumor Mill Exposed Again

World • Views: 1,614

Another ridiculous Internet rumor bites the dust: Obama OK’d 2 SEAL teams for pirates.

President Obama dispatched two separate teams of Navy commandos to carry out last week’s rescue of a merchant ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates but left the operational details and rules of engagement to military commanders, National Security Adviser James. L. Jones said Tuesday.

“I can tell you from a White House and presidential standpoint, there was no conflict, no gnashing of teeth, or excessive influence in trying to manage this thing,” Mr. Jones, a retired Marine Corps four-star general, told The Washington Times in an interview.

He and other military officials gave the most detailed account to date of how Navy SEAL forces were dispatched - first from a base in Africa and later from the United States - to carry out the mission, and how Pentagon officials communicated with the White House. They sought to dispel Internet reports that the military was delayed from taking action by indecision inside the White House.

“I don’t recognize” the information being circulated on the Internet, Mr. Jones said. …

Among the reports disputed by Pentagon officials was a widely circulated Internet critique - purportedly from an anonymous source close to the SEAL community - saying Navy SEALs missed a chance to shoot the pirates on April 10 when Richard Phillips, the captain of the hijacked freighter, jumped out of a lifeboat where he was being held in a failed escape attempt.

However, military officials at the Pentagon involved in the operation said Navy SEAL snipers had not arrived on board the Bainbridge at that time and therefore could not have fired on the pirates.

Contrary to the critical report, the president did not reject two proposed rescue attempts by U.S. forces prior to the sniper attack, Mr. Jones said.

Dozens of people posted this false rumor at LGF, in our comments and in spinoff links, and dozens of blogs reported it uncritically—because it played into what they wanted to believe about Barack Obama, that he deserved no credit for the rescue operation in Somalia. I did not post the story at LGF because, frankly, it stank.

This should be an object lesson in: 1) the folly of trusting unsourced rumors that circulate through email and blogs, and 2) the pitfalls of being so ideologically driven that you give in to hatred and believe stories that are—very obviously—suspect.

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