Political tricksters create online election hoaxes - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Political tricksters create online election hoaxes

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A student ID photoshopped to look like it belonged to President Obama A student ID photoshopped to look like it belonged to President Obama

Like wildfire, they light up Facebook pages, the Twitterverse, and Email inboxes this election season. Hoaxes, Rumors and Urban legends involving the two men battling for the White house in 2012: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

Have you fallen for any of them?

There was a Romney campaign button with his motto "Believe in America" on the front, and on the back appeared to be the words "Made in China." That one was popular just last month.

It wasn't long before it was determined to be a hoax.  A political prankster photoshopped "Made in China" on the button. According to several news organizations, the Romney buttons were made in America.

"Photoshop is a dangerous thing," said political consultant Wes Gullet. "But now you have the problem of it going viral, and then you don't know what's true and what's not."

President Obama is the target of dozens of hoaxes that usually question his citizenship. A picture of his so-called "real student ID" has circulated for several months.

Snopes.com debunked the ID as a photoshopped fake.

Another story circulating this election season says the President used $500,000 to repaint the tail of Air Force One with his Campaign logo.  

That one was debunked by About.com, saying the picture of the tail was from Obama's campaign plane in 2008.

"People sit around in their spare time and do all kinds of stuff, put it up on the Internet and see if they can get it to go viral. When it does, guess what? They're doing the laughing," said Gullet.

Gullett says you can no longer believe what you hear, or see for that matter.

A picture purportedly showing Romney getting his shoes shined, aimed perhaps at making him look elitist?   It's actually the governor being wanded for Security before boarding a charter flight in 2008.

Equal shoe time for Obama.

One circulating picture reports he is taking off his shoes to pray at a mosque at the White House.

The picture actually was taken as the President entered a mosque in Istanbul in 2009  for a tour.

The spouses and families are not immune to these hoaxes.

One picture started circulating  more than eight months ago.  It appears to show Mitt and Ann Romney attempting to spell their last name using their boys with lettered T-shirts. They spell money by mistake? (HOAX!)  

THe real picture from the Associate Press shows the correct spelling. Someone photoshopped the misspelled money version.

"That's why the silly season is the silly season," said Gullet.

Another picture under the caption "Butt seriously" claims to show Spain's Princess Letizia and France's then First lady Carla Sarkozy and a rather frumpy looking Michelle Obama.
Mrs. Obama wasn't even at the Spanish dinner where the real picture was taken.  
Another recent piece mocks Michelle baa and her daughters for being at the 2012 Olympics, wearing South African  blankets.

The picture is actually a shot of the Obamas when they landed in South Africa in June of 2011 for a Youth Leadership event.

So what to do as Campaign 2012 winds down?

"The best thing to do at this time of year, the political season, is not to believe anything. Make up your mind not based on some picture...but based on the facts you can gather, watch the debates make the judgment yourself," said Gullet.

And question everything else.

If you run across something that sounds fishy, there are websites dedicated to debunking these hoaxes, and getting to the truth.

If you're unsure, check:http://snopes.com/politics/politics.asp

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