Sometimes a lie creeps into the general store of human knowledge, such that "everyone knows it" and we can never get rid of it. A good example is the yarn about the first President Bush and the supermarket scanner. There was started in 1992 by a story in the NY Times, by one Andrew Rosenthal. Rosenthal reported how how Bush was "amazed" by the scanner at the supermarket checkout (implying that he had never seen one before), in spite of the fact that they had been in widespread use for over decade. This was seized on by numerous editorial writers to show how "out of touch" the first Bush was.
This story was thoroughly debunked by Snoops (great site, by the way, dedicated to debunking (or sometimes confirming) urban legends). In fact, (1) The Times reporter Rosenthal wasn't even there (he relied on the pool report), (2) the reporter who was there didn't think Bush the elder's reaction was at all unusual, and (3) Bush was being shown a new type of scanner, so some polite "isn't that remarkable" type of reaction would only have been expected.
Well it doesn't matter that the story isn't true, because it is now firmly a part of history. Just last August, a Washington Post writer (one Dana Milbank), inserted the vignette into his article without a second thought that it might be completely made up:
Appearing out of touch with the common man can be deadly for a candidate. Recall George H.W. Bush's wonderment in the 1992 campaign upon coming across a supermarket scanner, and Sargent Shriver's legendary request for a Courvoisier while visiting a milltown bar in 1972.
The same thing is happening with the story invented by filmmaker and lying bastard Michael Moore, that Disney did not want to distribute his new, lying screed Fahrenheit 911 (no, I haven't seen it, but I don't have to go to the moon to be fairly certain that it isn't made of green cheese) because Governor Jeb Bush (of Florida) threatened tax breaks that Disney World was receiving. CNN reported that this version of events appeared on Moore's web site:
"The reason? According to today's edition of The New York Times, it might 'endanger' millions of dollars of tax breaks Disney receives from the state of Florida because the film will 'anger' the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush."
But if you look at the original story from the NYT, the source for the allegation was Moore's own agent, Ari Emanuel. You see how the game works, make up a story, the allegation goes into the NYT, and then you quote that the NYT reported it. You just forget about the fact that you planted it there in the first place. And the story stays out there, even when the two principals (i.e. the only folks with actual first hand information) Disney and Gov. Jeb Bush deny the story.
Here is NPR talking about like it really happened:
According to a report in Wednesday's New York Times, Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner told Moore's agent that he feared the film might endanger tax breaks Disney receives in Florida, where the president's brother, Jeb Bush, is governor.
No mention is made in the blurb about the denials. Oh, well . . .