The Intercept's Robert Mackey writes that disinformation, not fake news, got Trump elected--reminding us that "a man with an assault rifle had stormed into a Washington pizzeria to 'self-investigate' an online conspiracy theory for which there is no evidence." Mackey writes, "I decided to confront some of the alt-right bloggers who had played a role in spreading the hoax on the social network:"
I'll admit there was something quixotic about the premise behind my intervention, namely the hope that people who have devoted hundreds of hours to spreading falsehoods intended to boost Donald Trump by tarnishing Hillary Clinton would suddenly transform into responsible adults when confronted by the dangerous behavior of a man who mistook the fantasy they peddled for reality.
But watching the campaign of disinformation that lifted Trump to the presidency continue and even accelerate after Election Day poses an obvious challenge for professional journalists, whose careers are dedicated to the premise that facts matter.
He quotes Sharif Silmi, who was at Comet Ping Pong with his family when the "self-investigation" occurred:
I hold @RogerJStoneJr and @RealAlexJones responsible for putting my family in danger today at the @cometpingpong -- Sharif Silmi, Esq (@bayreef) December 4, 2016
Mackey notes that "it is important to realize that the phenomenon we are confronting here is not simply fake news of the sort peddled for profit by apolitical entrepreneurs on Facebook:"
This is something different: a hoax created and released into the darker reaches of the internet for the express purpose of damaging the reputation of the Democratic candidate for the presidency.
When shoveling bullshit leads to flying bullets, we must do more to combat it.