Media rushed to blame far-right so they could demonize all conservatives.
Having breathlessly reported that Florida gunman Nikolas Cruz was a member of a white supremacist group, media outlets across the world failed to issue retractions when it emerged that this story was completely fake news.
The farce began when the Anti-Defamation League and Associated Press reported that a representative of the Republic of Florida Militia, a group that believes in a “white ethnostate,” told them that Cruz was a member of the organization.
However, it quickly emerged that the story had begun as a prank on the notorious 4chan messaging board after members had convinced another individual, Jordan Jereb, to falsely tell the media that Cruz was an “affiliate” of the white supremacist group.
This was then picked up by the ADL and the Associated Press and reported as fact. In reality, Cruz was never a member of the group, which is based in Tallahassee, about 430 miles away from where the shooting took place.
Jereb himself later said the whole thing was a “misunderstanding” based on him not having slept for two days. He also subsequently claimed, “Elvis Presley was a member of ROF.”
The source for the media’s phoney claim that the Florida shooter was a member of a “white supremacist” group is now saying Elvis was also a member.
Could it be that the media rushed to publish this fake news story as part of a broader effort to demonize conservatives? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Z4sLcOS5vS
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) February 16, 2018
In their eagerness to pin the horrific massacre on far-right “white supremacists” (which could then be extrapolated out to demonize all conservatives for the shooting), the media ran with the story despite having no independent confirmation whatsoever.
Almost 24 hours after it was confirmed that the original story about Cruz being a member of a white supremacist group was fake news, the AP, the ADL and others have failed to remove tweets and news stories that are completely erroneous.
The original Associated Press tweet claiming the white supremacist link was “confirmed” has nearly 40,000 retweets and remains up.
BREAKING: Leader of white nationalist group has confirmed suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization.
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 15, 2018
BREAKING: Spokesperson for white supremacist group Republic of Florida admitted to ADL that Nikolas Cruz, alleged perpetrator of deadly Parkland school shooting, was a member & trained with his group, which seeks to create a “white ethnostate.” More info: https://t.co/1Y8sGbP6Gv
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) February 15, 2018
GQ Magazine reports, The Florida Shooter’s Ties to White Supremacy Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone. They probably would surprise people given that they don’t exist.
A basic Google News search turns up dozens of publications that have not retracted the fake news story.
“4chan has proven time and time again it can easily manipulate the press,” summarized Tim Pool. “Journalists need to get their heads (out) of their asses and stop falling for this kind of shit. Maybe it would have been prudent to wait for law-enforcement confirmation or comment before reporting the hoax.”
4chan has proven time and time again it can easily manipulate the press.
Journalists need to get their heads of their asses and stop falling for this kind of shit.
Maybe it would have been prudent to wait for law-enforcement confirmation or comment before reporting the hoax.
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) February 15, 2018