Welcome back to Can't Handle the Truth, our column looking back at the past seven days of fake news and hoaxes that have spread thanks to the internet.
Donald Trump blew off steam Friday morning by doing his version of yoga: rage-filled tweets about the "fake media." As I pointed out last week, "fake media" means any negative press whatsoever (He'd accumulated some negative press during the week). But some of Trump's Friday tweets were right in an odd way: Over the past week a vast liberal fake news machine been churning out bullshit for the #ImWithHer crowd. And liberals have been lapping it up. For the most part, liberal enthusiasm for fake stories manifested itself as a boisterous LOL-fest on social media. But some—including a Democratic senator's recitation of a talking point from a lefty conspiracy blog—was more consequential than that. Let's take a look:
A grand jury is investigating Trump's Russia ties
Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey appeared on CNN Wednesday to talk about James Comey's firing and the need for a special prosecutor. Markey got one part right, about subpoenas being issued to some of Michael Flynn's associates. Then—having read something, somewhere—he leapt without looking. "A grand jury has been impaneled up in New York," he said, wrongly implying that a prosecutorial body is beginning to build a case.
According to the Boston Herald, Markey had been reading conspiracy blogs, including the entertaining, off-kilter politics blog of former UK politician Louise Mensch and the Palmer Report, which is like a low-budget version of the Drudge Report, but for liberals.
Needless to say, citing these sources on TV is a bad look when you've tweeted about the need for honesty and facts from the Trump administration. If literally anyone gave half a shit about hypocrisy in 2017, Markey could have really gotten into trouble for that one.
Sean Spicer wore mismatched shoes to work
On Tuesday night, during the news blitzkrieg that followed the firing of FBI director James Comey, a legitimately funny thing came along for liberals to laugh at: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave a timid press briefing with no bright lights and no video, after concealing himself among the White House bushes (or near the buses, as the Washington Post clarified).
On Thursday, John Cohen, the producer of most of the worst children's movies made in the past ten years, tweeted about that legitimately funny thing. Then he went for seconds, tweeting about Spicer wearing mismatched shoes to work that day. The internet's insatiable mouth cooed, "Yum-yum-yum-yum-yum, I love it!" and Cohen racked up likes and retweets. Thousands of people enjoyed it.
But the tweet was flat-out false. First of all, that photo was from March. But more importantly, it shows Sean Spicer not being stupid, but injured and wearing a foot brace. Cohen has since deleted the tweet.
Stephen Colbert Is Under Investigation from the FCC
My colleague Eve Peyser covered this already, but in short, Stephen Colbert said the only thing Trump's mouth was good for was being a "cock holster" for Putin. Then came accusations of homophobia, a hashtag about taking away Colbert's job, the further proliferation of the hashtag by Trump fans, complaints to the FCC, and then, supposedly an FCC investigation.
Publications like Teen Vogue cried censorship. Comedians like Mike Birbiglia and Sarah Silverman ran to their usual corner, penning diatribes about free speech.
But while the FCC was actually looking into the matter, that's only because the FCC looks into every complaint it receives.
An awesome little girl sassed Trump right to his face
The above tweet, from someone named Najahta, embeds a clip from Comedy Central's poorly received The President Show, and features Donald Trump impersonator Tony Atamanuik getting an earful from a child who may or may not be an actor. "You're a disgrace to the world," the precious girl says to the comedian, before taking a phone picture. Somehow, the Comedy Central logo is missing from the video, making it look real. OK, maybe not real, but reality-adjacent.
It's a mystery what motivates people to smash that like button, but in my opinion, 400,000 people don't usually get this excited about a Comedy Central clip. More likely, the clip seemed like a moment liberals were just desperately hungry to see—so very hungry that an implausible facsimile with an audible laugh track was enough to fill the void.
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