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 or 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 "" 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, 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.

Filed Under: credibility, donald trump, eric trump, fake news, kellyanne conway

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  1. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 5:46am


    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.

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