Barack Obama is fed up with the crazy stuff people are saying about health care on the internet, so he's decided to unleash the power of viral e-mail and put everything straight with a highly forwardable fact-check.
It's written by David Axelrod, and here's how it starts:
This is probably one of the longest emails I've ever sent, but it could be the most important.
Oh boy. First off: If you actually describe something as viral, that means it's not viral. Viral is a self-regenerating, word-of-mouth, prairie fire. When the most powerful institution on the planet announces that it is propagating a communication, it's called a press release. The fact that people can forward it doesn't mean it will take over the internet. Even stodgy corporations know this: When the smart ones launch viral campaigns, they don't tell anyone where it's coming from until it gets a foothold.
Second: You're not going to grab the attention of a random independent citizen by telling them off the bat that this e-mail is really long. And you're certainly not going to induce them to immediately forward it to friends and family with gripping stuff like this: "A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults –- 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market –- were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill."
There's a reason White House white papers are rarely forwarded around in endless e-mail chains.
Also, it's all true. Which completely defeats the purpose. Here's what a pro-reform viral e-mail should look like:
Fwd: THE TRUTH ABOUT SARAH PALIN
****READ THIS YOUR LIFE WILL DEPEND ON IT****
WHY??? Hasn't SARAH PALIN facebooked about her own private DEATH PANEL?
FACT #1: On June 19, 1983, Sarah Palin's GRANDMOTHER Martha Palin died allegedly of cancer in Winchester, Idaho. Sarah Palin claims she was in Alaska on that day but STATE RECORDS show that she flew to nearby Montana on the day before. This is on PAGE 29 (two-thirds of the way down) of the Sarah Palin book called "Sarah". Where is Martha Palin's DEATH CERTIFICATE and why did Sarah "Barracuda" pull the plug on her OWN grandmother? Because she didn't have INSURANCE!
FACT #2: Charles Grassley is GAY. Did you know that? Just saying.
FACT #3: The Aetna Insurance Corporation (TAX ID# 7398-927) is NOT AN AMERICAN COMPANY. They are registered in Austria at Einsiedlerplatz 4, 1050 Vienna and AETNA is an acronym for Austrian Enterprise for Total Negation of America. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria (Wikiepedia). AETNA has spent $34.957 million (US) to defeat BARACK OBAMA's health care reform (Federal Election Commission Report 635-09, page 342) and shipped 43,387 stolen AMERICAN kidneys to Austria in fiscal year 2007 for transplant to Austrians (AETNA 2008 Annual Report—look in index for KIDNEYS).
FACT #4: Help BARACK OBAMA defeat Sarah Palin and the INSURANCE AND STOLEN KIDNEY INDUSTRY or this country will never be the same as you remember. My cousin had AETNA and went to the hospital for an appendix removal and it went bad and doctors kept him there for six weeks without telling him why. AETNA tried to charge him $6,354.28 for the stay! He fought it and then got laid off and went on GOVERNMENT-RUN MEDICAID which paid for everything and then at a check up the MEDICAID doctor told him HE ONLY HAD ONE KIDNEY and STILL HAD his appendix. COINCIDENCE?