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The Fake News Machine: How Right-Wing Blogs Are Using Misinformation To Discredit Roy Moore’s Accusers

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The Fake News Machine: How Right-Wing Blogs Are Using Misinformation To Discredit Roy Moore’s Accusers




It started with a single tweet.

Hours after Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, several Alabama Republican officials and right-wing pundits rushed to discredit the Washington Post’s explosive story.

One Twitter user, who goes by the name “Doug Lewis #MAGA” and claims to be a former US Navy Seal, made the following baseless claim: “A family friend who lives in Alabama just told my wife that a WAPO reporter named Beth offered her 1000$ to accuse Roy Moore.”



As noted by MediaMatters, the same twitter user made a nearly identical claim in 2016 against the New York Times and LA Times.

Nevertheless, right-wing blogs immediately ran with the unfounded claim from the unverified Twitter user.

Media Matters reports:

The Gateway Pundit, a disreputable website that frequently promotes hoaxes and employs far-right trolls, published an article based solely on Lewis’ claims with the headline “Alabama Woman Claims WaPo Reporter Offered Her $1000s to Accuse Roy Moore of Sexual Abuse!!” While Hoft noted it was “just a report at this time,” he explained it is “HUGE news if true.” Infowars.com, which is operated by leading far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, also ran with the report in an article bylined by reporter Kit Daniels that asked, “Accusations against Moore already debunked?”

The evidence-free allegation is also being promoted by fake news site TruthFeed. Another site that publishes fake news previously used tweets from the same account to claim voter fraud in New York.

MediaMatters has also highlighted some suspect changes in patterns of speech from the “Navy Seal” which mirrors tweets from Russian bot accounts.

The Twitter account has yet to share any evidence proving its unfounded claims that have now reached millions of readers.

The Washington Examiner’s Tsar Becket Adams notes that the dollar sign in the fake tweet is consistent with a Russian bot account: “Fun fact: In Russian, the ruble sign (₽) follows the value. In English, we put it *before* the listed amount. Easy to get confused when you’re juggling multiple languages, I suppose.”




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