The Duncan Banner


October 28, 2012

Modern version of ‘Telephone’ blurs the truth

DUNCAN — A couple weeks ago, I stopped at a popular morning spot to get a caffeine infusion and encountered a meeting of a chapter of the Coffee Club Geniuses of America.

One of the guys said he’d gotten a group email from a club member who was absent that day. In a serious tone, the fellow explained it was a call to rally against President Barack Obama and an action he’d taken.

The transgression Obama supposedly committed was to force Fox News to cancel broadcast of a program it planned to air the next evening. The speaker said Obama and his henchmen at the FCC pulled the plug on the show Sean Hannity created, which would prove every negative thing you’ve heard about Obama was true.

According to the email and the coffee club pontificator, Hannity’s far-reaching research found Obama was: a Muslim, an illegal immigrant, a friend and supporter of the SDS and other far left groups, a Kremlin-trained Marxist and a surrogate of Iran, who will confiscate every privately-owned gun in the U.S.

Other club members were dutifully outraged. The speaker proclaimed, “This president — if that’s what ya call him — has to go, by any means necessary.” And a half-dozen heads nodded in agreement.

Thing is: The Coffee Club Genius was absolutely wrong about the Obama administration silencing Hannity, just as the email blast was completely bogus. It was another of those button-pushing fabrications that fill email mailboxes all over the USofA.

The urban legend about Fox and Hannity being muzzled first appeared in 2009. Since then, Fox and Hannity have consistently denied any such documentary was produced or scheduled for broadcast. Fact-finding websites like and have deemed the film and the notion the Obama administration silenced Fox to be total fabrication.

And the fibbing cuts both ways. According to and, Mitt Romney’s grandfather never ran a polygamist Mormon sect in Mexico. Nor did Romney ever said, “I was too important to go to Vietnam. I had a greater purpose in life.”

But this is how it is in the Modern Age. When it comes to politics and social issues, facts just get in the way; truth is an annoyance that clutters up what some people want to believe.

It’s as though a growing number of Americans are locked in a game of “Telephone”; you know, the party game that’s also called “Broken Telephone,” “Whisper Down the Line” and “Gossip.”

In “Telephone,” the first player whispers something to a neighboring player and each subsequent player whispers their interpretation on down the line. By the time the final player reveals what they were told, it sounds nothing like the original statement.

The game can be fun, but “Telephone” is also a metaphor for how inaccuracies, partial truths and flat out lies spread and eventually are accepted as fact.

In the public forum, “Telephone” is no party game. When it’s mixed with the Internet, political spin doctors, intensely partisan media talking heads and a populace that’s angry and frightened, it leads to wild hyperbole, character assassination and total disregard for truth.

“Telephone” has become a propaganda tool, and a lot of Americans are swallowing it hook, line and sinker.

A few days ago, I went to the website, clicking first on the “Politics” page and then on the icon for “Barack Obama.” What unfurled were 122 entries about the current president that has investigated. In the mix were previously mentioned things about Obama — and much more.

Of the 122 entries, the folks determined 106 were either “completely wrong” or “partially wrong.” Breaking it down a little more, 85 were deemed “completely wrong” and 21 were “partially wrong.” (Just for the record, “completely wrong” or “partially wrong” are just another way of saying “lies.”) isn’t alone, there are other authenticity sites and groups checking out the validity of emails and Internet postings regarding politicians, prominent individuals, social and political issues, etc. Most report a majority of the emails and factual postings they investigate turn out to be lies.

Seems there’s a whole network of balderdash out there circulating as truth, and that’s a dangerous game of “Telephone” for any society to play.

580-255-5354, Ext. 172

Text Only
  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014