Watchdog launches rumor hotline




noun: rumour; plural noun: rumours; noun: rumor; plural noun: rumors

1.    1.

a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.

"they were investigating rumors of a criminal act"


gossip, hearsay, talk, tittle-tattle, speculation, word; More

reports, stories, whispers, canards;

informal grapevine, word on the street, buzz, dirt, scuttlebutt, loose lips

"do you think the talk of her resignation is fact or just rumor?"


past participle: rumoured; past participle: rumored; verb: rumour; 3rd person present: rumours; gerund or present participle: rumouring; verb: rumor; 3rd person present:rumors; gerund or present participle: rumoring

1.    1.

be circulated as an unverified account.

"it's rumored that money exchanged hands"


Rumors are dirty little things.  Here at Watchdog we receive tips, investigate them, and pass on what we learn to our readers.  If someone disputes something we write, we invite them to respond (and we will publish their response).  If we get something wrong, we'll apologize and correct it.


But rumors are deliberate lies, falsehoods deliberately spread, in order to damage another human being's reputation.


In the 2012 Freeholder primary, political consultant George Graham deliberately spread falsehoods about the political consultant of the opposing campaign. 


In Sussex County, this is called running a "whisper" campaign.  A whisper campaign isn't a debate because it's not a fair exchange.  What happens is that a lie is fabricated to damage someone.  The lie is passed on by word-of-mouth.  If confronted, the whisperer lies again and denies having said the lie.  Then she or he goes back to whispering. 


A whisper campaign cannot be conducted on the radio or cable or by using mass direct mail or email or even electronic calls.  Anything requiring a disclaimer or ownership of the words defeats whisper.  Whisper goes by word-of-mouth, from lips to ears, person to person. 


From the beginnings of Western Civilization, these whisper campaigns have been looked upon as immoral. In the Old Testament, the eighth or ninth Commandment of God (the number depends on whether you are Jewish, Roman Catholic, or Protestant) states:  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.


If you hear one politician whispering some outlandish "secret" about another, demand that she or he say it to the other person's face and in front of you.  If they won't, contact Watchdog and we'll expose the whisper campaign.


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