Let’s follow the arc of just one wingnut whopper. It starts as a seed in the form of a flatly untrue headline by none other than Fox News shouting out ‘scientists say dinos farted themselves to extinction’. Ahem:
(PZ) — But the paper makes no such claim, instead suggesting that the mass of herbivores during the Mesozoic would have made a substantial, but stable, contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere that may have been partially responsible for the warmer, moister climate of the era …
But the truth doesn’t matter, facts are so unimportant we can’t even stop to check; we are witnessing wingnuts getting busy, hotly engrossed in zombie baby-making! Dozens of news sites get sucked in. Next up RushBo takes the false headline and pollinates it, mocking climate scientists for ‘claiming dino’s farted themselves to extinction’. Worldnut Daily and other large sites soil themselves congratulating Rush for ripping scientists who say ‘dinosaurs farted themselves to extinction,’ and throw in some zippy one liners.
Now the spawn grows, it goes viral. Conservative hillbillies see it and pass it around to one another, giggling at those stupid scientists: “LOL, did you hear the latest? Climate scientists say dinosaurs farted themselves to extinction! Hahaha, does that pass the smell test?!” And just today a regular conservative stalker is concern trolling me about some climate change stuff, decides the NASA data measuring it must be false because he doesn’t like what it says, and emails back maybe it’s from the “same scientists who said dinosaurs farted themselves to extinction.”
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