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White House-approved outlet smears innocent man to raise suspicion of "the left" in shooting

The Gateway Pundit — a wildly dishonest right-wing website that the Trump White House granted press credentials to this year — recklessly embraced a conspiracy claim about the deadly Las Vegas gun rampage. The site misidentified the shooter and claimed the gunman was a liberal activist and Rachel Maddow fan. The site, run by conspiracy theorist […]

By Eric Boehlert - October 02, 2017
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The publisher and DC bureau chief of right-wing conspiracy site Gateway Pundit
The publisher and DC bureau chief of right-wing conspiracy site Gateway Pundit

The Gateway Pundit — a wildly dishonest right-wing website that the Trump White House granted press credentials to this year — recklessly embraced a conspiracy claim about the deadly Las Vegas gun rampage. The site misidentified the shooter and claimed the gunman was a liberal activist and Rachel Maddow fan.

The site, run by conspiracy theorist Jim Hoft, who boasts of receiving the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism, has never shied away from publishing baseless accusations.

Its response to the tragic shooting in Las Vegas that left at least 58 dead and more than 400 injured was no exception.

Overnight, The Gateway Pundit published this completely fictitious claim:

The piece, which has since been taken down, also misidentified the shooter as “Geary Danley.” According to Las Vegas police, the shooter who carried out the worst mass shooting in modern American history, is Stephen Paddock.

The Gateway Pundit’s fictitious claim first started circulating on fringe sites hours after the gun rampage.

“At least six 4chan threads were pushing the fake story that Danley and his family were ‘dangerous leftists’ early Monday morning,” ThinkProgress reported.  “As of 8:45 a.m., most of the threads have stopped pushing the Danley narrative, but the fake news made its way to Twitter, as well.”

Gateway Pundit, a white nationalist outlet, regularly publishes false information. Earlier this year, the site’s White House reporter defended Gateway Pundit’s awful track record this way: “That is the state of new media. When you are trying to get new information out there as quickly as possible, occasionally you’ll get something wrong and have to fix it. That’s how media works right now.”

But of course Gateway Pundit doesn’t “fix” its fabrications.

The decision to give Gateway Pundit press credentials this year was part of the Trump administration’s effort to usher in completely discredited media outlets into the White House as a way to slight journalists from established news outlets. It’s also an attempt to surround the White House with obvious media allies.

“Along with Alex Jones’s Infowars, Gateway Pundit is apparently one of President Trump’s favorite websites; during last year’s campaign, he repeatedly tweeted out links to Gateway Pundit stories,” The Daily Beast recently noted.


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