So-called fake news has real consequences, and everyone in the U.S. keeps learning that the hard way. Not just executives at social networks like Facebook, Reddit and Twitter. Or disgruntled and brilliant Weather Channel meteorologists.
Driven by misinformation masquerading as news, in the latest tragic incident, a gunman on Sunday opened fire in a kid-friendly Washington, D.C. pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong.
According to NPR’s report on the incident: “[The man] claimed to be ‘self-investigating’ a…wholly fictitious conspiracy theory that maintains Comet Ping Pong is the site of an international Satanic child sex abuse cabal hosted by powerful Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.”
Thankfully nobody was killed at the hands of the conspiracy-believing vigilante in Washington, D.C.
But the day after that shooting, Michael G. Flynn Jr., who was a member of Trump’s transition team, was fired for tweets that continued to espouse the conspiracy theory.
The son of Trump senior advisor General Michael Flynn ignored police work that had called the conspiracy absolutely baseless, and ignored the dangerous impact of endorsing a conspiracy theory that’s already led to gun violence.
News outlets have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of Trump firing someone for sharing misinformation on Twitter — our PEOTUS is not usually an arbiter of accuracy.
His history of deceit via tweet hearkens back to 2011. Then, he embarked on years of lies about President Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
The following year, he claimed climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
And, more recently, he adamantly lied to his followers that he won the electoral college vote by a landslide, and would have won the popular vote if not for millions of illegal voters.
We have to wonder whose job is on the line next? Even General Flynn has used social media, including Twitter, to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, baselessly suggesting she was involved in child trafficking.