We are all reeling from the news and fallout of events in Charlottesville. Racism has been front and center, and our country is in shock that Trump continues, even to this morning, justifying the rally of Nazis and Alt-Right white supremacists that led to a domestic terrorist attack. In this climate that has emboldened right-wing extremists, we spotted this fake news attack piece being circulated widely, clearly meant to inflame hatred against Muslims. So why does it have 150K shares as of this writing? Are people really so gullible, or are they sharing to point out the obvious fraud to others, as we are? Since fake news was successfully used to influence the 2016 election, it could be that people are truly seeing it as factual.
The website calling itself, “Action News 3” has the appearance of a crudely put-together news site, but the content is anything but real news. The title of the piece in question, “Trump Knocked Unconscious By Muslim Man Posing As Fox News Reporter” alarmingly shows Trump on the ground with a Fox News logo over the image. It’s sure to be click bait for Fox News followers, already vulnerable to misleading information.
The article states that a radical Muslim man, given the name Ibn Yakoobi posed as a FOX News commentator, violently attacked Trump with a tire iron:
“Yakoobi asked the President about future restrictions on Muslims into the U.S. and at that moment, the man grabbed a tire iron from the sidewalk and hit Trump in the head, knocking him unconscious.”
The anonymous author goes on to say that the White House called the fake act a “Lone Wolf” attack.
The story has been made into a YouTube video by a group calling itself, “HD News.” The video cites the United States Secret Service as a source. Strangely, the video displays the word, “Fake” in large red lettering over the image of Trump at one point, without indicating that the story is fake in the narration.
Both the article and video state that Yakoobi was part of a mob that attacked a Christian pastor and church in Mobile Alabama in July, but there is no source for this additional fraudulent claim. The specific date and location would lead some to think the story is real.
What is real: The ACLU has recorded the spike in anti-Muslim sentiment in America since the 2015 attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. Anti-mosque incidents are individually listed with an interactive map, and eight states list 11 or more anti-mosque incidents.
Trump’s immigration/ Muslim ban has only worsened the climate for Muslim Americans. Newsweek reported in July that there have been 940 reports of bias incidents involving the targeting of Muslims between April and June.” There has been a 91 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the first half of this year compared to 2016.
Articles like this one will no doubt only help to fuel anti-Muslim sentiment, even when domestic terrorist activity perpetrated by Alt-Right white supremacists and Nazis have dominated the news. Trump continues to deny his endorsement of bigotry toward minorities, Muslims, and women, yet his words and actions continue to encourage and embolden far-right extremists in his base. Meanwhile, his base seems ever-prone to digesting fake news and propaganda.
Featured image: Screenshot from YouTube