Anchor Baby SEAL Story Thrives On Social Networks

Did you hear that the anchor baby SEAL that shot Osama Bin Laden has been asked to show his birth certificate and talks with a lisp? It’s true, Perez Hilton Tweeted it.

Oh, and the death raid on Bin Laden was held-up because they were waiting for him to return from London and the Royal wedding.

Sillier stuff has happened.

You know that game, telephone? Where people whisper something into another persons ear, and they then whisper it to someone else and so on? The end result is always ridiculously different form the original message.

Social media is a lot like that. And trying to control a message on the social networks is like trying to plug a blown levee. Fruitless.

That happened this week when word spread that one of the Navy SEALs that raided the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan was an anchor baby of Mexican parents.

We reported on the fact, saying that the news originated with a Notimex story, and repeated by a publication in Tucson. After that the piece was tweeted and re-Tweeted, Facebooked and emailed faster than anyone could take a fly-swatter to it (and some people tried that).

I saw the story as a good vehicle to shine a light on the low number of Latino brass in the Armed Forces. You can count the number of Latino three and four star generals on half a hand.

But the story itself, about the Latino SEAL, took on a life that seemed to grow with every post. It has yet to be corroborated – by anyone, anywhere. So it’s probably not true (I say probably because the fact that it isn’t true has yet to be fact checked).

This is the power and pitfall of the Internet and social media where everyone has access to the equivalent of a printing press and different ideas as to how to use it. Think of it as amplified chisme, where everyone has an opinion and the wherewithal to say “that’s not right,” and “but you said…”

And the thing that was said is quickly forgotten and changed and moves on.

What was that about the undocumented Navy SEAL commander who singlehandedly fought off 100 terrorists, blindfolded?

News Taco reported on the story about the story, shining a light on what was being said and who was saying it.  It’s a crazy story…what was it again?

Follow Victor Landa on Twitter: @vlanda

[Photo by Gautheron]

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