We really should have all seen this coming.
Courtesy of Yahoo News:
In the summer of 2016, Russian intelligence agents secretly planted a fake report claiming that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was gunned down by a squad of assassins working for Hillary Clinton, giving rise to a notorious conspiracy theory that captivated conservative activists and was later promoted from inside President Trump’s White House, a Yahoo News investigation has found.
Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, first circulated a phony “bulletin” — disguised to read as a real intelligence report —about the alleged murder of the former DNC staffer on July 13, 2016, according to the U.S. federal prosecutor who was in charge of the Rich case. That was just three days after Rich, 27, was killed in what police believed was a botched robbery while walking home to his group house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., about 30 blocks north of the Capitol.
The purported details in the SVR account seemed improbable on their face: that Rich, a data director in the DNC’s voter protection division, was on his way to alert the FBI to corrupt dealings by Clinton when he was slain in the early hours of a Sunday morning by the former secretary of state’s hit squad.
Yet in a graphic example of how fake news infects the internet, those precise details popped up the same day on an obscure website, whatdoesitmean.com, that is a frequent vehicle for Russian propaganda. The website’s article, which attributed its claims to “Russian intelligence,” was the first known instance of Rich’s murder being publicly linked to a political conspiracy.
As some of you may remember this conspiracy theory was used to undermine the investigation into Russian meddling and spread like wildfire through Right-wing media outlets like Info Wars and the Drudge Report before Fox News joined in and broadcast it to their millions of viewers as if it was a legitimate news story.
Fox news eventually had to retract the story because, get this, it did not “meet their journalistic standards” (Yeah, like they have those.)
However, by then, the damage had been done and this thing took on a life of its own and continues to live on in the Right Wing conspiracy bubble to this day.
I think this is a prime example of the Russian’s ability to promote misinformation on social media, change opinions, and undermine any truth that threatens their agenda.
And Mitch McConnell continues to block legislation to prevent this from happening.