Fake News Story Originates in Austin

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Fake News Story Originates in Austin

The New York Times reported Monday on the genesis and distribution of a "Fake News" story triggered by a tweet by Austin businessman Eric Tucker, who saw some parked buses on an Austin street two Saturdays ago, noted that there were anti-Trump protests happening Downtown, put two and two together and came up with 13 ("How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study," by Sapna Maheshwari). Tucker decided that the only possible reason the buses were in town was to bring out-of-town protesters into Austin, and he posted: "Anti-Trump protestors in Austin today are not as organic as they seem. Here are the busses they came in. #fakeprotests #trump2016 #austin." Although Tucker himself didn't have many followers, in short order his tweet was picked up by various hard-right websites and then went viral on Facebook, and hundreds of thousands of viewers were told that "outside agitators" were being bussed into Austin, likely paid by none other than George Soros. Reporters soon found the bus company (Coach USA North America) and the actual conference (13,000 people for Tableau Software). None of that mattered – despite correct reports from the Austin American-Statesman and others, the corrections (and Tucker's eventual, defensive retraction) went almost entirely unnoticed. Amidst all this dim-witted credulity, it never occurred to Tucker, the various right-wing sites (which likely still believe and circulate the nonsense) – nor even to The New York Times – to ask where all these protesters were supposedly recruited: Waco? College Station? Amaril­lo? Cut and Shoot? Are none of these folks even dimly aware that Austin does not need to bus in protesters from anywhere, to protest anything? Please, people, a little respect! And if anybody's paying … please tell us where they're handing out the checks.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

fake news, Eric Tucker, George Soros

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