Over at the Gothamist, Jake Offenhartz has an astounding and richly symbolic storyabout the latest bit of “fake news” burped up by the alt-right.
At Columbia University on Monday, alt-right self-promoter Mike Cernovich gave a speech to College Republicans. Other students showed up to protest. And then some alt-right members in attendance, posing as protesters, unfurled this banner:
The banner has a NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) logo on it, making it look like the protesters are defending pedophilia. Ha ha.
Cernovich grabbed the image off Twitter, stripped it of context, and sent it bouncing around the right-o-sphere. When Offenhartz reported the copyright violation, Twitter removed the photo from Cernovich’s account. That led the alt-right to cry censorship, which led to more publicity for the photo, which led, in the end, to thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of conservatives believing that students of Columbia University were openly marching in favor of pedophilia.
Basically, the alt-right tricked itself into believing even more stupid, wrong things. Burn, I guess?
Crazy conservative fairy tales have become numbingly common
The sheer absurdity of the tale is familiar these days, reminiscent of “Pizzagate,” the bonkers story about Democrats running a child prostitution ring out of a DC pizza joint. Even after it went viral on Reddit and some jacked-up angry white guy showed up at Comet Pizza with a gun, it still had the scent of parody. It is quite simply impossible for most people to imagine believing all the things that would be required to also believe that DC Democrats are into organized child trafficking.
It is similarly difficult for most people to imagine believing that Hillary Clinton has had multiple people killed, that Obama is a secret Muslim who wasn’t born in the US, that Trump had millions of votes stolen, that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump’s White House, that Seth Rich (the mid-level Democratic staffer who was tragically murdered) was assassinated for stealing DNC emails and giving them to WikiLeaks, or that Antifa, the fringe anti-fascist movement, will begin going door-to-door, killing white people, starting on November 4.
And yet millions of Americans fervently believe these things. Different polls find different things, and it’s always difficult to distinguish what people really believe from what they say on surveys. But if 30 percent of America’s 200 million registered voters are Republicans, and 40 percent of those don’t believe Obama was born in the US, well, that’s 24 million people, among them the most active participants in Republican politics.
Read the whole Story at VOX