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If this weren't so fucking horrifying and frightening, it would almost -- almost -- be funny:
The idea was simple enough: publish as many absurd, obviously fake stories imaginable, and see if anyone actually falls for it. The results of this experiment were both fascinating and disheartening.
“BREAKING: Satire Makes Fools Of Gullible Trump Supporters.”
That’s the headline James McDaniel published on his intentionally fake news website, , earlier this month.
Within just two weeks of his website going online, McDaniel had already amassed more than a million views, thousands of comments on his stories, and hundreds of thousands of “likes” and “shares” on Facebook.
“While writing them, I was aiming for stories that no one would believe, but rather would be satirical in an age where disinformation is so prevalent,” McDaniel wrote on his website. “Just for fun, I decided to post some of the stories in Trump fan groups on Facebook to see the reactions.”
One fake story, headlined “Wikileaks: Obama Ran Pedophile Ring Out Of Whitehouse” amassed more than 40,000 views. Published in February, the top comment reads:
“I believe it. They are scum. Down with the obama’s his it wife (sic) are him took 111 million dollars worth of stuff that should be repaid back to the taxpayers. Back to America.”
McDaniel created fake news suggesting Michelle Obama had a sex change and Barack Obama tweeted out that “Trump must be removed by any means necessary.”
“To my surprise, the Trump masses embraced my stories as fact, almost universally,” McDaniel wrote. “It seemed that there wasn’t anything I could write that was too wild or outrageous to be believed by this particular audience.”
In a fake post about how the singer Adele told BBC news that Obama “should be in jail,” one of the top comments, posted Feb. 24, gushed over the fake news website.
“I’m impressed by how this website tells us like it is,” the commenter wrote. “No sensationalism at all – straight facts and well documented research, with sources and all. Thank god for the alternative media, that saves us from the mainstream garbage by showing us the truth.”
So some guy, as a social experiment, creates a phony news website. He posts all kinds of absurdly crazy, completely made up stories about Obama and Hillary, and then plasters links to those stories and his hoax website on Drumpf groupie Facebook pages. To his surprise (not The Gadfly's though) the Drumpf cult loons go ga-ga over the hysterically bogus stories and begin sharing them like hits off of a meth pipe with their dumb shit friends and family members and voila! -- instant alternative facts paradise for the faithfully insane. Well . . . Ron White pretty much stated it best:
Does anyone with an iota of common sense wonder then how a Russian dictator loving, sleazy businessman and morally degenerate charlatan like Drumpf could come along and convince so many that he and he alone is their savior who will rescue them from their evil, liberal oppressors.
And as for that "fucking horrifying and frightening" part The Gadfly spoke of? . .
The Gadfly has no doubt that the infernally condemned ghosts of Hitler and Goebbels sigh heavily while writhing in eternal agony on Lucifer's spit in the depths of hell -- wondering and fantasizing about what manner of jocular evil could have been had if only they'd been born 40 or 50 years later in history . . . .