I've read that Abraham Lincoln’s coffin was reopened--TWICE. Not once, TWICE! Why? Rumors had swept the country on two different occasions that his casket was empty. Imagine the morbid, grotesque ceremonies to pry open the 16th president's burial box only to discover his corpse.
Rumors. It's information lacking authoritative facts and direct source, loosely disseminated. Rumor mongers abound either in passing on juicy unsubstantiated facts or listening with delight to succulent half-truths. Those who spread rumors are careful to provide safety with “They say” or “Have you heard?” or “I heard from others. . .”
Leaders are often recipients of rumors (fake news?). If they're not careful, they'll circulate the tasty morsel without checking for accuracy or the source.
“Are you aware that Harry in the accounting department comes in late, does two-hour lunches, and leaves early?”
“Others are saying that our company is going bankrupt.”
“I just heard one of your honor students is pregnant.”
“There's a good number of people in the church planning to leave because of. . .”
“One of your athletes cheated on his math final.”
It's a concern to several people that she can't be trusted.”
“I can't tell you who told me but they heard from others the elder board isn't pleased with your leadership.”
The tongue is capable of digging up more scandalous dirt, opening up more caskets, and exposing more skeletons in the closet than any other tool on the earth.
Here are some tips for squelching rumors and rumor mongers:
If someone shares hurtful or damaging information, request that the source be specifically identified.
Support evidence with facts. Do not listen to hearsay. Honest-to-goodness truth must be communicated.
Ask the person, “May I quote you using your name?” It's amazing how many will back off.
Courageously admit, “I don't appreciate hearing that.” Your ear is not a garbage can.