Fake news is everywhere. With social media's sensory overload, bad actors are intentionally and unintentionally spreading disinformation, which is easier all the time thanks to our increasingly declining attention spans and poor media literacy. Yes, we're more likely than ever to get duped by something online.
But sometimes, the snap judgments and ideas being spread are so patently ridiculous it's impossible to fathom that someone would fall for them. (At least, that's the hope.) Last week, conservative activists on Twitter and Facebook somehow found a candid photo of Philadelphia songwriter (Sandy) Alex G (who released a great album called House of Sugar last week) with a wet stain on his jeans and thought it was an old picture of presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke pissing himself. Though the indie rock musician and the former Texas Representative don't look much alike, several users have been posting the image with captions like, "Robert Francis’ O’Rourke in college. Drunk and pissing his pants. He wants to be your president in 2020!”
It's unfortunately circulated so much that FactCheck.org has had to get involved. In a new post titled "Another Bogus Beto Photo" (this has happened before to the El Paso politician), the publication tracked down (Sandy) Alex G, whose real name is Alex Giannascoli, to get his take on the photo and the social media-induced confusion.
Giannascoli explained that the photo was taken a backstage after a show in New York City in 2017. He says of the picture, “I spilled a beer on my pants. I was joking around. It obviously isn’t that funny anymore.”
While this isn't the first time a bogus image has been used to discredit a candidate in the 2020 election, this does seem to be the first time indie musicians have been unintentionally included in that fake news. Here's hoping that by the primaries, old photos of Grimes or whoever aren't used to mislead people about Marianne Williamson or Elizabeth Warren.
Listen to (Sandy) Alex G's "Southern Sky" below.