Donald Trump's Son & Campaign Manager Both Tweet Obviously Fake Story

from the not-very-credible dept

It's no secret that there's been a huge number of totally fake news websites popping up in the past few years. Apparently, it's a fun and profitable venture. While some of the fake news sites come up with generic names, like National Report, Hot Global, The Valley Report and Associated Media Coverage, some of the most successful fake news sites just make use of the big well-known broadcaster websites... and just get a .co domain: using nbc.com.co or abcnews.com.co. Some of the hoax stories are really well done -- and, yes, even we've been fooled, though in our defense, the fake story we fell for... was so believable it became true just months later. But, of course, we're just a bunch of random bloggers, not a Presidential campaign.

The Trump campaign, on the other hand, should know better. Amusingly, of course, this week we've talked about the Trump campaign's willingness to fall for hoaxes, but they seemed to take it up a notch this week. I first noticed it when I saw Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway tweet an obviously fake story, claiming that an anti-Trump protestor was really paid by the Clinton campaign.
You can even see the URL there, showing that it's "abcnews.com.co" and not the actual ABC news website (even if Conway does tag the real ABC as if they wrote the article). And, as I was writing up this story, I saw that The Hill notes that Donald Trump's son, Eric Trump, tweeted the same fake story:
Here's the thing, though. If you actually look at the story, it's so obviously fake. I mean, first off, just the claim that a protestor got $3500 to protest a Trump rally? I mean, even Donald Trump himself only paid his fake supporters $50 to cheer at his campaign announcement. Yes, the Clinton campaign has raised a lot more money than the Trump campaign, but $3500 a protestor? I mean, that's pretty obviously a ridiculous number.

And the article itself just gets more and more ridiculous the more you read. Whoever wrote this is clearly not even trying to fool people. I mean, just read this paragraph about how the guy knows it's Hillary's campaign that "paid" because the people who contacted him used AOL:
“As for who these people were affiliated with that interviewed me, my guess would be Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Horner said. “The actual check I received after I was done with the job was from a group called ‘Women Are The Future’. After I was hired, they told me if anyone asked any questions about who I was with or communicated with me in any way, I should start talking about how great Bernie Sanders is.” Horner continued, “It was mostly women in their 60’s at the interview that I went to. Plus, all the people that I communicated with had an AOL email address. No one still has an AOL email address except people that would vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Or, how about the made-up Trump supporter in the article saying it was obviously a fake protestor because they shouted facts, or how "the best we could do was just yell and punch 'em."
“I knew those weren’t real protesters, they were too organized and smart,” said 59-year-old Tom Downey, a Trump supporter who attended the rally in Fountain Hills. “I knew there was something up when they started shouting all these facts and nonsense like that. The best we could do was just yell and punch em’ and stuff.” Downey continued
Yeah, sure. These fit the "stereotypes" but in such an exaggerated way that it's obviously false.

And then the article actually sorta becomes self-aware, with a pretty big wink to anyone who actually read it that it's false:
David Mikkelson, founder of Snopes.com, a website known for its biased opinions and inaccurate information they write about stories on the internet in order to generate advertising revenue, told ABC News that he approves of what a story like this is accomplishing.

“You have to understand that when a story like this goes viral, and we spend a minute or two debunking it, we make lots of money. Stories like this have helped put my children through college, buy a new car, a home and even get the Silverback gorilla my wife Barbara always wanted since she was a child,” Mikkleson said. “We claim ‘to provide evidence for such debunkings and confirmation as well‘, but that’s just ridiculous. Do you know how much time that would take? Instead, we just copy and paste parts of the original article into ours, write a couple sentences, and that’s it. I just want to be clear, our website does zero journalism or anything creative, and I’m only telling you this for legal reasons...."
That one goes on for a while having the fake Snopes person going on and on about fake news sites, totally unrelated to the subject of this "story." So, uh, yeah. It's pretty clear that either Trump's son and campaign manager read the story and are so completely clueless that they still thought it was real, or they were so excited by what the headline claimed that they just glided right past the ridiculous dollar amount and assumed it must be true. Yes, people get fooled by fake news stories all the time. But having an actual Presidential campaign get fooled by one is... well... bad.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 9:57am

    When have facts ever stopped Trump from opening his mouth? And sadly there are people who will take this at face value.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 11:25am

      Re:

      Facts are to Donald Trump what cheeseburgers are to a lactose-intolerant Hindu.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      The way I put it is that "facts are about observation; truth is about understanding".

      I originally arrived at that from the perspective of a context of a Sherlock Holmes-type detective investigating a crime, but I think it applies in pretty much every other context I've been able to think of as well.

      It certainly dovetails well with Stephen Colbert's "truthiness", and his line about not caring for facts but preferring truth instead.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AJ, 14 Oct 2016 @ 10:00am

    Not sure I agree with you on this one Mike. If professional bloggers/writers such as the ones that write for techdirt can be fooled by the occasional fake story, I would probably lean more towards giving these guys a bit of grace before I beat them with the "your an idiot" stick...

    I'm going to give it a bit more thought. I have my stick handy should I change my mind, but meh, seems more silly than "bad"....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 10:09am

    Even if it was false I would expect the Trump campaign to still push it because "It is something she would do because she is a loser" or something as ridiculous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ron Currier (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 10:11am

    Snopes

    And yet another slander against Snopes. Anyone who spends more than 30 seconds on snopes.com knows that they don't accept advertising of any kind. But in this year of believing that facts don't matter any site that promotes facts that go against what the base believes is suspect and biased.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 14 Oct 2016 @ 10:51am

    Not even taking the slightest attempt to confirm the validity of a story is deplorable!...........Hey wait a minute.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 11:17am

    or it's strategic

    The other possibility is that the Trump campaign posts it knowing it's false. This is a good strategy for building enthusiasm among the Trump base. Trump supporters read the tweet and get outraged. They won't see anyone debunk the tweet in the internet echo chamber, so it seeps into their consciousness as a "fact." Boom: one more way that Clinton is crooked. Certainly not a strategy unique to the Trump campaign, but they do seem to do this an awful lot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Trails (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 12:07pm

      Re: or it's strategic

      This.

      They weren't fooled by it cause they're dumb. They were fooled by it because they don't care if it's true. It feeds into their narrative.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        timlash (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 1:43pm

        Re: Re: or it's strategic

        Ditto.

        We live in a post-factual world where everyone is entitled to their own facts. Tweet it if it matches the message. No one doing the tweeting cares if it's true. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if a Trump flunky had penned and placed the story.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2016 @ 8:06am

        Re: Re: or it's strategic

        Annnnnd there you go. The narrative of the Trump campaign is that:

        - black people are dangerous and scary
        - brown people are dangerous and scary
        - yellow people are dangerous and scary
        - Mexicans are dangerous and scary
        - Muslims are dangerous and scary
        - Democrats are dangerous and scary
        - Reporters are dangerous and scary
        - Women are dangerous and scary except when we're sexually assaulting them, raping them, insulting, doxxing them, accusing them of lying, calling them whores, etc.
        - Any Republican not fully backing Trump is dangerous and scary
        - Scientists are dangerous and scary
        - Educated, literate, thinking people are dangerous and scary

        And you know what? This plays amazingly well to the uneducated, the bigoted, and the just plain stupid -- who are nearly all of Trump's base. These people are not only incapable of rational thought, they simply don't care. They want to hear slogans and they want to be told that "Only Trump can save them" -- which, by the way, is straight out of one of his campaign ads.

        Cue Living Colour:

        I tell you one and one makes three
        I'm the Cult of Personality
        Like Joseph Stalin and Gandi
        I'm the Cult of Personality
        The Cult of Personality
        The Cult of Personality

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SJJ (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 11:40am

    $3500 to Protest...Really?

    I read that Trump's people are saying Hillary paid an anti-Trump protesters $3,500 each to protest. My goodness, how lucrative has protesting Trump become? And here I was willing to do it for nothing :-). Totally ridiculous but they know people crawling from under rocks will believe anything. I'm waiting for his evidence that these women are lying BUT (a BIG BUT) I will bet it's a secret so we will never see it...everybody is out to destroy him, not that he's a total loser. Just tell idiots what they want to hear and he either can't or doesn't have to do any of it. This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 12:18pm

      Re: $3500 to Protest...Really?

      AOL is the evil that is coming for you! Don't mind Facebook Essentials making a play for coverage in USA. It is just to help poorest people in the world!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Big Al, 14 Oct 2016 @ 12:43pm

    Or Possibly

    two busier people than you didn't do due diligence. Nailed em!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DebbyS (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 2:16pm

    Wrong Trump?

    They should have asked Trump's 10-year-old son the cyber genius (according to his father) to make a less easily detectable fake story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Mayor, 14 Oct 2016 @ 2:25pm

    MISLEADING CAMPAIGN INFORMATION

    This is all the more reason to establish a REAL TIME Global Digital Human Rights mechanism... and placed on one's taskbar, and in the "Things" that will comprise the ubiquitous Internet of Things!... that will avail netizens the opportunity to report Digital Human Rights violations (e.g., compromising the "integrity" of digital communications, interference with an election process... and etc.!)!
    .
    Please!... no emails!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 14 Oct 2016 @ 2:36pm

    You Anti-Trump Fanatics Are So Patethic

    All this desperate shouting facts and nonsense is just scrapting the bottom of teh barrel. YOUR CAN TAKE YOU LIBERAL SO-CALLED OBJECTIVE REALITY AND SHOVE IT!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      SJJ (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 2:13pm

      Re: You Anti-Trump Fanatics Are So Patethic

      LOL. Let me get this straight, anti-Trump people are pathetic and Trump supporters are at this very moment looking like geniuses, right? That's what I thought you said. I guess facts only matter to people whose name isn't Trump or supporters. The rest of the world love facts not fiction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2016 @ 3:37pm

    So they didn't notice the jab at Trump supporters who thought punching the protesters was appropriate?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 8:39pm

    Yes, the Clinton campaign has raised a lot more money than the Trump campaign, but $3500 a protestor? I mean, that's pretty obviously a ridiculous number.


    That's highly skilled protester to you, sir. And highly skilled protesters deserve to be compensated properly. I understand they have the protest of 10, 20 ordinary protesters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 14 Oct 2016 @ 10:41pm

    In a perfect world 1 candidate would be in prison for selling state secrets, and the other would be ignored as an obvious nutjob

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    roebling (profile), 15 Oct 2016 @ 2:58am

    Support the Clinton Crime Family!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    REGISTERED VOTER, 15 Oct 2016 @ 5:09pm

    TERM LIMITS

    It is obvious we do not need career politicians. Term limits proposed by Trump at this time could cause a firestorm of votes for him. Two terms and you're gone. It is time to put term limits on the table.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AC, 15 Oct 2016 @ 11:04pm

    Just Sayin

    So, how about those leaked emails?

    *crickets*

    Roughly 1-2 anti Trump posts per day on TD tho...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 4:57am

      Re: Just Sayin

      You're worried about emails when we have an insane racist misogynist xenophobic megalomaniac running for president?

      Perspective, please. I'm not at all thrilled about Clinton's candidacy or history, but at least she's a reasonable and sane human being. Trump is neither.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2016 @ 3:13pm

      Re: Just Sayin

      What about them?

      If you think you've found a 'smoking gun' or particularly damning one in the pile go ahead and share in the comments, or send it to TD via the 'Submit a story' link at the bottom of the page.

      'How about those leaked emails' is uselessly vague unless you want to claim that all of them are incriminating, which I'm guessing is not the case. Highlight specifics if you don't want to just have your comment just brushed aside as a 'Look, a distraction!'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 1:58am

      Re: Just Sayin

      "So, how about those leaked emails?"

      What about them? They've been reported on, the negative implications discussed and no new information has been revealed that has any relevance here. If you feel a story is being missed, there's a submit story option for you to use.

      "Roughly 1-2 anti Trump posts per day on TD tho..."

      There's 1-2 new examples of Trump lying, scamming or doing something similarly bad every day so it gets reported on. Are the other candidates doing the same things and not being reported on (no, a story that's been in the news the entire campaign doesn't count as new)? Or, is Trump just doing a lot more bad things that need to be reported on?

      In my experience, any politician acting in this way gets reported on here. But, if one guy is doing this crap 1-2 times a day and the other only does it once a week, it's not bias for the former to have 10x more stories written about their behaviour.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Karl (profile), 16 Oct 2016 @ 6:31am

    What the Trump campaign thinks of his supporters

    Sure, people can get fooled by fake news. But what's really delicious is this:
    "I knew those weren’t real protesters, they were too organized and smart," said 59-year-old Tom Downey, a Trump supporter who attended the rally in Fountain Hills. "I knew there was something up when they started shouting all these facts and nonsense like that. The best we could do was just yell and punch em' and stuff." Downey continued, "I think we did a good job though. I was shouting at them the whole time, calling them losers, telling them to get a job or go back home to mommy’s house; I got a bunch of high-fives from my fellow Trump supporters. It was a great time."


    Someone on the Trump campaign read that paragraph, and said to themselves "yep, that's exactly what our supporters are like."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2016 @ 7:40pm

      Re: What the Trump campaign thinks of his supporters

      It's worse than that actually as for the trick to work the actual supporters either need to not read the article in question or also agree that yeah, that sounds exactly like the sort of thing they would do and/or other Trump supporters would do.

      For something like that it has to be at least plausible, so if it does come across as such to them... well, that's not too flattering for the actual supporters to put it mildly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 9:36pm

    Mike is obviously a liberal shill if all he can report on is Trump...Goodbye TD, nobody who's seeking unbiased journalism wants to be bombarded by a shill for the far left nor right.

    This was the last place I came to for unbiased news but no thanks to Mike, it's ruined.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 9:40pm

    So hey mike, why don't you report on the fake sexual assault cases that are popping up oh so conveniently near the end of the debate?

    Why not expose that they're paid for and that they're own families have even come forward to call BS?

    Oh that's right, you're a far left liberal extremist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2016 @ 9:54pm

    "It's no secret that there's been a huge number of totally fake news websites popping up in the past few years."

    What, like yours has become?

    "The Trump campaign, on the other hand, should know better."

    Coming from psudeoliberals, this should be gold...

    " I first noticed it when I saw Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway tweet an obviously fake story, claiming that an anti-Trump protestor was really paid by the Clinton campaign."


    Uhm, there's numouse reports of CL ads hiring anti-trump protesters of which there is plenty of evidence of:

    http://therightscoop.com/craigslist-ad-offered-as-proof-protesters-are-being-paid-at-trump-rallie s/

    And then we also have the end results which consisted of numerous people being assaulted for being pro-trump:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMux_UHmpvc

    I'm not even going to bother to read through the rest of your nonsense if it was this easy to debunk it from the beginning...Mike, you're a disgusting shill and you should be fired from TD.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 6:58am

      Re:

      My understanding is that Mike founded,runs, and (as much as anyone does) owns Techdirt. Suggesting that Techdirt should fire him seems a bit preposterous, in something approaching the literal sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re:

        However, it does reveal the level of foresight, insight and factual information that this person is operating with. Judging by his choice of citations and this post, it's not much.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 1:54pm

      Re:

      Hahahahahahaha this is gold. You didn't even read the article you linked, did you? Or maybe the sarcasm just flew right over your basket.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 18 Oct 2016 @ 5:46am

      Re:

      Hey, partisan! Over here, where the sensible people are.

      Right now, pay attention: Mike doesn't like any of the candidates and merely reports on what catches his attention. He doesn't pick sides and doesn't play the dog whistle echo chamber game. He is not obliged in any way to cater to your alt-right sentiments — or to my personal tastes. Or anyone's. This is his blog and he will run it as he sees fit. It's called "freedom."

      Off you trot, look up the meaning of the word "freedom", and let us know what you find. Chances are, it's not, "Do what I tell you or I'll accuse you of being my enemy for not taking my side," no matter where you look for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re:

        Save your breath. He's not returned in the 2 days since he posted that, and is clearly entrenched in right-wing echo chambers (his links consist of an anti-Muslim, pro-Trump YouTube channel and a right-wing blog that demands Marines be sent out for... something? Not sure what they're expected to do). Considering that and not knowing who Mike is employed by (AFAIK, Mike), I doubt he's interested in having reality invade his cosy bubble.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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