Do Some Citizen Research

I get the emails each week.  They cite a bill number in Congress and make some ominous accusation about what is contained in the legislation, usually some kind of political conspiracy which is also accompanied by complaints that the press is ignoring the issue.

So I dutifully look up the bill, and in about 3.4 seconds find out that the email/link being sent to me is a bunch of garbage.

And then I shake my head to think that thousands of people simply forward those along to the friends, without taking the time to look just beneath the surface.

Last week it was an email entitled, "Did you know H.R. 1388 passed yesterday?"

"This needs to be reported," wrote Dave Caplin.

"It wasn't mentioned on the news... just went by on the ticker tape at the bottom of the CNN screen," said the email, which went on to list a number of things that were not in H.R. 1388.

What exactly was that bill, which supposedly wasn't "mentioned in the news?"

That was a bill on national service, named for Sen. Edward Kennedy, which was signed amid big fanfare down at the White House in late April.

The latest example was a link sent to me by a listener via Twitter about H.R. 985, which is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Sovereignty Alliance has issued a "red alert" about the bill it calls "stealth legislation ... to protect Obama from providing his birth certificate."

Ah yes, the birth certificate story. That one never ends, eh?

Except when you actually go to look at H.R. 985, you find a different story.

"The bill, H.R. 985, would protect reporters from being compelled to reveal confidential sources even under subpoena."

In other words, it is what is known as a "media shield" statute.

We can certainly have an argument about whether that is necessary or not.  But the bill isn't an effort to keep a lid on Obama's birth certificate by stopping federal officials from revealing certain documents.

Remember, with the internet - you have an amazing amount of information about all kinds of government activities.

Take a few extra seconds and check it out, before you forward that email to everyone in your address list.

You can also follow Jamie Dupree on both Twitter and on Facebook.

I get the emails each week.  They cite a bill number in Congress and make some ominous accusation about what is contained in the legislation, usually some kind of political conspiracy which is also accompanied by complaints that the press is ignoring the issue. So I dutifully look up the ...