« Reveal

Pizzagate: A slice of fake news

2017-11-18 | 🔗

On this episode of Reveal, we look at #Pizzagate. This story takes us into the world of right-wing Twitter trolls, pro-Trump political operatives and fake-news profiteers from St. Louis to Macedonia. Reveal unravels how this conspiracy theory spread and tries to answer one big question: How did America become a post-truth country?


To explore more reporting, visit revealnews.org or find us on fb.com/ThisIsReveal, Twitter @reveal or Instagram @revealnews.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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From the centre for investigate reporting in p r eggs, this is revealed a malleson driving through Joplin Missouri. You can see signs of a huge to a NATO that hit the city back in two thousand and eleven lot of homes and businesses were destroyed and they're all these empty lot. That would never redeveloped in the middle of one is the place. Reporters lost or chaskey and Rob are looking for. A future gets a fair track. Ok, it's smoothie place called pineapple. Bliss is a closed. That's Laura! I ask a question of that's a man I'm trying to find some ever how I face but ass. She liked. I not bob less pronounced Carmen cat Cigars by Carmen cats I face, but it is now. I am the thing: is there not even sure if the person they are looking for is real? I say a picture tat without out amid a law or trying to find this person, because she was the first person we found who posted anything on Facebook about one of the most bizarre fake news stories of twenty six teen pizza get laureate. Amanda,
Laura murder had been investigating this story for months working with Artie that reveal the none I feared newsroom the investigative fund, a man, in writing. A piece for rolling stone magazine. Soap! Amanda! Can you, explain what the conspiracy theory is. The conspiracy theory, as that Hillary Clinton I heard democratic underlings and colleagues are running a sex trafficking rang out of the basement of the pizza called, come ping pong tits area in the north, wash ten d c one of the many problems with the conspiracy theory There is no basement mp3 air, the theory he's totally false, ok, Laura we! heard about lots of fake news stories and lots conspiracy theories? Why did you as decide look into pizza gate wealth.
First of all, we know that pizza gate was one of those fake news stories that may have affected the outcome of the twenty sixteen election and everybody may not remember this part, but for a fake news story, pizza it got really real because a guy who actually believed it went to that pizza shop in Washington DC and he shot a gun. You remember knows her, but this was still a huge story right. So we I wanted to know was there's somebody who planted the story and why would they do that? The first clue his head was Carmen cats, Facebook posts. It went up on October, twenty nine ten days before the election laurel. Once you read some of their police force. Ok it says my Nypd source said it's much more vile and serious. We're talking An international child, enslavement and sex ring naughty
Hilary most ardent supporters and defenders will be able to excuse this exclamation point so Miss Profile says she was in Joplin, but there's no Carmen cats in the phone book there. A profile picture is just a photo of a green and white cat. So since she was like the first poster that we could find Amanda I decided like okay well, gotta, go to Missouri and try to find her and figure out like how did she know about this, and where did you get it from? Why did she post this, and so that's how we got when two Joplin with a picture of the cat? So you though, both free travel down to jobs in Missouri find a woman and all you go armed with this picture of a you're following the story really well well our whole plan was to go to businesses that Carmen liked on Facebook. So then
space we went was jugs, liquor, J, you GC. As carbon cat said, she had bought a bottle of bones rum at this liquor store that was signed by the person who made it. So we were like. Ok, that's that's him like a member. That's not just. I picked up a bottle around, maybe they'll. Remember her. Have you try bones are now hence my letter, so the owner Minetta? She it brings us behind this makeshift bar and she fixed us a pretty disgusting cocktail. That had bones realm and chocolate wine in it. That sounds utterly disgusting. It was what is discussed she kind of acknowledged that it should be disgusting, but she really like that This is all before noon. By the way on a Saturday and we drank the chocolate small stirring with her, but she had no idea who Carmen cats was
carmakers. I did find her because I guess Macher myself, I'm not a Hilary fan, that's stupid crap. They just makes me Sixteen is submitted before misery. So did you ever find the Catalan? we spent three days looking for her and at the end of the third day we were basically ready to give up. We went back to her. Hotel in despair, and I went back through Carmen CATS is Facebook, feed which had printed out for must have been eight hundred time I'd gone through. It and I saw that she had posted change, dot, org petitions, and they were things like please put present. Tromp on Mount Rushmore in the law ass person to sign every single one
was someone named Cynthia Campbell and so using so heavily Carmen cats has to pay less credible and when you went to Cynthia Campbell chain, start Org that's the cat omega her profile picture was the same cat seen that cap before that, So after all that work and finally found the cat, what about the woman heresy empty Campbell lives and job lamp. So we call
I left very polite messages asking to speak to her. I commander avowed Carmen cats account on Facebook and she didn't call back. We can sort. This whole thing out so we went to her home, which is a great bungalow on a nice little street we knock and it's kind of sounds like someone's inside, like we heard some noises inside, but nobody came to the door, so we laughed, came back. We knocked again still: nobody comes at the door, a man this time sitting with her and calling her. Finally, she started texting back and then a couple more minutes. After that she calls she's climate Cynthia Amanda and sin Campbell IKEA Carmen cats talked for like twenty minutes We didn't get permission to use that call so I'll. Just like basically tell you what she told us, she said that she did
the eight the carbon cats, Facebook page but she claimed that had been hacked. She said she didn't know anything about the specific anti Hilary Pro Trump posts you didn't know about the Nypd sources, pizza, gatepost he said. Yes, I could You did that account, but I didn't create those specific posts. I think I was hacked. I don't really understand what this is all about: very nice. And so a man hangs up the phone I buy, and I'm thinking like ok, we're gonna get to talk to her alot. Surely we can get to the bottom of this. We didn't they believe her, but we figure there would be more chances on four We like right after that her tone totally changed. She starts texting all of
stuff saying we were the ones that hacked your facebook page. She threatened assuming. She threatened colleagues feel you on me shoot from the Congo Geek Squad on me. She told me I'd ruined her alive. She told me I was so sucking. You called me vagueness, fake news, that sort of thing like a dead end like there's, no way to go from there. Well, there was some way to go, because if we think about it, it does seem kind of weird that this random woman in Missouri would have invented this whole thing. So a man than I spent a lot of time digging back into all these creepy anonymous parts of the internet. We did find a post on four Chan from July, it's an anonymous message board where one user called FBI a non used, so of the same language, so Carmen could have gotten some of her post from there and then there's.
Another strand of pizza gave that goes back to October seventh out just a few weeks before Carmen posted, you remember, the Russians had hacked the democratic parties. Emails in October the thousands of those emails when upon wiki leaks from a guy named John Fidessa that he ran an Hillary Clinton campaign, John today, stairs emails out. There are a few references to pizza and a couple references to combat DE males, they did talk a lot about pizza people, so I was called for something people on It talk a lot about pizza people. Thought was code for something people on Red, Ed, came to see like she and the restaurants hurts getting like. You know: people calling them tons of people calling them threatening them all the employees are calling them tons of people calling them threatening them all
please or getting threats. People are basically saying, like you, guys, are a bunch of pedophiles gear, hurts you know we're gonna come and get you were. Gonna shut this down Laura in Amanda, went to North West Washington DC. They are here to meet the owner of commenting on James Elephant. I don't know how to really describe him. He's like totally late always seems to be like I don't know how to really describe him. He's like totally late, always seems to be like a running away behind running around. Has a guy ginger arrived he soon, comic ping pong as this big cavernous restaurant there's a bar on one side. There are tons of tables
in Bonn. Is this big cavernous restaurant there's a bar on one side? There are tons of tables full families in the back there oh game room with kids playing pingpong before November, for like right before the election comic ping pong Was this pizza place that J? ran and he was super proud of it. It was like a community institution and then during November. Fourth, really everything changed. James gets call from this DC reporter asking him like do. You know that you're, a restaurant is at the centre of this conspiracy theory on, read it and we lose my response like what is ready, because I didn't even know.
Cash haven't heard of it read. It is an anonymous online message board, and so they began to look into it a little and they are like. While you did, you know, there's an entire page on red. It devoted ping pong in this theory about Hillary Clinton and in trafficking or something I was like, that's insane genes, thought. The harassment would die down after the presidential election. Instead, it got worse and the voices became louder, more filled with aids, more her seeing more direct, message is and the volume of messages increased immensely and then it all came to a head on December. Fourth, twenty sixteen the twenty eight year old man from North Carolina named EDGAR Medicine, Welsh became obsessed with pizza, gate story and drove up the comic ping pong armed with. Two guns a knife. Fired off three rounds and restaurant.
Found out. No kids were being held there. He surrender the police. How did the hulks take on that much power? Laura and Amanda try to answer that question and it takes them too. Argues corners of the internet. They track the twitter feats of Botz and trolls. It meet fake news, profit he is from Missouri all the way to Macedonia when we come back, pizza gate gets push from a private investigator in European Slovenia who says he has evidence All of the components are here to expose the greatest perversion the greatest the titanic- and I mean satanic cobalt. People that are with Hillary Clinton in the people in the halls of power in the United States. Your listening to reveal from this before investigative reporting in p r exe
from the centre for investigating, reporting and p r ex this is reveal a malady. We're teaming up with the nonprofit newsroom investigative fun it rolling stone magazine, deconstruct pizza, get reveals, lost our Chaskey and reporter Amanda Rob started out trying to find a woman in Missouri who's, the first person to post about it on Facebook a tractor down, but she says she was hacked anew a thing about it. We can go backwards from the Karmann cats post into the deep dark web. Looking for pieces of dna of the story, or we could go forwards from Carmen cats boast and see how the story actually spread to go from dozens to hundreds to hundreds of thousands in reaching millions of people we're gonna do both. We as revealed data editor, might quarry to help us out like oil, so Michael
describe how story like pizza gay goes viral on the web. When something, viral on Twitter. It really ultimately goes back to one tweet or a couple of tweets that for some reason: catch fire arrogance, think of it, like you know and Fantasia, when meeting chop up the broom. So what was one broom turns into fire bruise shares in the twenty five rooms, which turns into a hundred brains and just peace building in building exponentially until he had this flood tweets going then we'll go back to a couple individual tweets at the beginning, I understand that we're gonna get a sample of between data, and so we can understand who was tweeting.
That's when, where they tweeting about this and what was going on at that time, we might get started on that. Laura and Amanda Pagoda Track, how the story popped out a facebook and spread across social media like we said that Carmen cats Facebook pulse was on October. Twenty ninth now the next day someone takes screen, grab that post in tweets it out. This goes straight from Carmen cats within twelve hours to a twitter account at David Goldberg and why he said yes, I can firmness, I'm hearing the same thing from my secret Nypd source, so We don't know where the sky is, if even lives in New York, he claims to be a New York lawyer. We don't even know if he's a guy for his avatar. You is a photo of a man with a large Photoshop knows white supremacy, have been using this picture social media for years as an anti Eddic mean after he per cent it gets shared at least six thousand times on twitter and
Very very next day it becomes a news story, a site called your news: dot com, which is a fake news site. So eventually the story would get picked up by lots of fake new sites, and we wanted to understand just a little bit about that market, like Why were they carrying this story? So Amanda started talking to people in the fake news business in this the part of the story that takes Amanda all the way to Macedonia. About forty six hundred miles away Tell me. I met him and tell me what you do. She meets Borgia and of invalids, depressed former factory town, also happens to be the home of many of the fake news website. There popped up during the twenty sixteen election about hundreds, so. I met torture at an outdoor cafe and he looks like your
then, when the PO, his very sad looking, I remember Holly, so he makes extra money by setting up fake news sites any charge. A hundred euro. Apart pot, you could say that we are taking you skip it all the world sharing the vagueness capital. Probably this is the best, the best description of our town, because data actually invent fake news there. They just copy and paste it from American. New sites in Macedonia. This business model is not new or tat had been doing this for a while. He used to make fake is websites about muscle cars and health and yachts, business was sort of slowing down. I was getting to be a crowded market, so
the primary elections, one of his clients, and he were brainstorming about what a new good, fake news business would be and they thought Well, there's a lot of interest in the american presidential election. Why don't we try politics? This is important to understand the people making
Macedonia, fake news sites didn't have anything against Hilary themselves. They just knew that people would click on Hilary story, serious pointed interests than you and your wedding. I hate speech. She is the logical jail she's involving descriptions. People I mean everyone everywhere in the world level of those responsible, Elsa moment would go. Did you- and you remember this story about her being of had a file like her being running up, had a power in their millions or some other resources involved with ice is either fully levels, but there was one hundred percent guarantee us from the Americans. They copied and pasted fake news from websites in America like Glenn back cite the blaze or a bright bart, and there were american to ran fake news websites to amend, and I met a guy from Saint Louis, who said he made six figures during the election for them. Fake news is not about politics, it's just a really good way to make money. The dollars were flowing. The rumours kept going just as the presidential election was in its last crazy. Weak pizza gate was bouncing back and forth between social media and fake news sites, but it was still on the fringes. Then something happened on the member. The second. This was reaffirmed, whether Hilary fuels or not the godless garnish to use on fire decision called info worse. It's a webcast and a radio show hosted by the sky. Alex Jones Alex Jones is a very prolific conspiracy. Theorist he says stuff like no one actually died at the sandy hook, school shooting or nine eleven was a hoax or he had a guest on one time who said, there's a child slaves colony on Mars, unlike eyes here and his audience is huge. The show reaches millions of people and the first person who actually launched the pizza gate story on info. Worse was this private investigator living in eerie Pennsylvania,
Doug Hagman. Thank you for joining a served. The take over very soon this nice for having me yeah. Basically, everything that you ve, come up with my source in abundance of yours is said. Bright haggling goes on to say that his source know someone who's affiliated with the Nypd who Told him that there is proof of the pizza gay conspiracy, All of the components are here to expose the greatest perversion. The greatest arm, satanic- and I mean satanic Cabal people that are associate with Hillary Clinton and the people in the halls of our of power in the United States. So We called Mr Hagman again, and he said it could come up and see us courtroom, ready documents proving that the former secretary, State- is running a profile ring why my polyglot
so we went. His basement studio? It is unbelievably decked out person an anchor chairman and everything and we asked for the courtroom, ready documents and he said there were the copyright and that he hadn't kept a copy the second, you made a big declaration. We see the world based on me. I made that, based in large on the information I got. My source. Ok, some so much you didn't have to go back and my ticket with anybody. Really believe him. I think that's No, it's! I think that there was enough supporting evidence or supporting documentation, not evidence but documentation to substantiate the veracity of his assertions. Now, in large part on the information I received my source. Ok, any trust them so much laughter.
Back in my ticket with anybody really believe him. I think that's all I know is I think that I think that there was enough supporting openness or supporting documentation, not evidence but documentation to substantiate the veracity of his assertions. Now that why documentation we don't have any okay. If you look ok, embarrassed by you guys. I thought I was going to have to carry Laura on my arms. She was so sad for him. It was just it was humiliating. It was awful claim to fame. Like we looked him up, was he They may have courtroom ready documents and kids commits, and he didn't have anything now. It seems to me
Only by you guys, I thought I was gonna have to carry out my arms. She was so sad for him. I mean it was just that was humiliating. It was awful, evidence that is animal. I can give to you. So I get that an that's who, Alex Jones expert is, so Hagman doesn't check his says Angelo. Several tech, his experts and. And out goes out, goes the story, seems like this virus every time, someone contracts it it adapts evolve. Send it becomes more deadly and it keeps going and going in going, that's really get where per like every time. Somebody else get sent it mutates and becomes grocer
so it's getting reader bigger. Let's talk specifically about how it grew reveals. Data editor, Michael pouring is back with us to break it down and he's been workin on getting some twitter data together to analyze too, are actually talking about. Here is something like one million or so tweets in this one month period MIKE made this colorful graph. That shows the spike in twitter traffic, starting with the first at David Goldberg, and why tweet on October, thirtieth until December forth? day: Welsh fight the gun in the pizzeria. Ok. So if we look The very start of this chart starts at the October thirty of two thousand sixteen, and there was just a cup tweets are sample from that date. Is it just the same Also, we know, there's, probably if you more than that, but there's the A blip on the thirtieth of october- ok, I can.
David Goldberg and why tweet on October, thirtieth until December forth the day Welsh fight the gun in the pizza real? Ok. So if we look at the very start of this chart starts at act over thirty of two thousand sixteen, and there was just a couple tweets and our sample from that date. Is this just a sample? So we know there are probably more than that that's when our prince, when I'm bright bar- and he also claimed to have Nypd sources so much chickens in my pretty was pushing because you know and then after act over thirty, eight there's do not much going on in our data until November. Fourth, there's another little, the parents and her father. Daughter he could not let that level continue. Eric prince, you may remember, is the guy who started black water, the private security firm, the Wes used in places like Iraq. He was a big donor to the Trump campaign and assist, There is Betty divorce. Who is now this
criteria of education a lot of other- really yummy criminal information, including money laundering, nearly went to this effect. If you let it out a file, Jeffrey Obscene, I don't want you want their money twenty times Henry. Quite yet, there is six times a garbage that they found emails of criminal activities. My story, my her immediate circle, Other democratic members of Congress was this guy, let us leave it to the FBI and they said we're going to go poverty. This. If he got reopen investigation, be taught you do the right thing with kind. I didn't rightness
prince wasn't the only Trump advocate to push the conspiracy. Michael when tweeted about it- and we found other people who worked for tromp retweeted it too but aired prince. That was a big deal. He built ever gives interviews at all. Now he was sticking his neck out to push basic conspiracy theory on bright, but when you look at twitter shares or Facebook shares bright barges relieve the Abbe Centre of this part of the galaxy that we're that were described there we talk to a Harvard professor name Yoke. I banks are about this. He said
is the internet and he looked at how information spread during the twenty sixteen campaign. You really have a major, bright Barton owed, which clearly had a very powerful social media. So energy and and visibility, and it is the central mode and it is literally the same size as the times the posts are for everything else when banks, studied how the media work during the twenty sixteen campaign. He created this network map. It's like a visualization of all the media outlets out there and basically like what did they do during the campaign season? What did they cover? We collect third about two million stories from go you're off before the election, a man gave us a pretty clear image of who producing media and connecting to whom and who is paying attention to walk.
I was stunned. The bright bar polled fox to the right during the election on the visualization map. You can actually see it. My initial thought was that we probably measure wrong. It was home it was so surprising. But when you look at the right, you really see a completely separate constellation of planets orbiting around a bright bart that is as bright and influential anything there is throughout the entire rest of the system. Bright. Bark was asleep, or powers came a major influence prince The Navy seal was the ultimate pizza gave validated. Now this, we had lakes Pizza, twitter traffic. Spite please raise your right hand and repeat after me, I d
old, John Trump, do solemnly swear John Trump do solemnly swear that I'm so we all know what happened in the election on November eight Trump One electoral college and became president either, but that didn't at the spread of pizza, get it actually who, after the election for the next major thing looks. Is November six there's a decent size, spike other some. Once again, that's reveals data. Editor might Corey. Yes, Jennings happen that day, yeah one starting has picked up in Turkey. And Turkey was Turkey and in Turkey he had heard gives a pig instigate was huge and turkey. I have no idea. It was front page news, Oliver, Turkey and at head on the sixteenth and then the their thing that happened on the sixteenth was jackpot. So back he went to
I'm a ping pong to the pizzeria and he live periscopes. His investigation, where he was gonna, go inside, come at ping pong and find out once and for all. If there was any truth to the rumour I was feeling a little bit hungary tonight. And I decided that I won- Go for some pizza, so let's go take a look. Shall we common pizza, Eureka Jack the sober is like a twitter, troll extraordinaire he's an agitator. He worked with the right Wing dirty trickster Roger Stone during the Trump campaign. Jack goes become a ping pong he's got his phone sticking out of his front shirt. Pocket
I turned it off. I understand the need to fight, considering that I myself and my staff received death threats, not agreeing he orders garlic knots before he can. I then he gets kicked out of commenting on our hair control. What somebody hosting for you're throwing me out, he still filming he goes outside and its like, as if his mind was blown by what he saw inside, which was nothing there was none. To see it was just a normal pizza place. The threat level here is much higher much higher than I thought it would be. The this. That was going on is much much worse than I thought it would be. An We are dealing with something where there is some high level stuff, your guys we're doing. Very high level stuff thereupon- here have a lot of interests and a lot of money, so they have.
Secret that they are trying to hide. So when Jack Pacific LAB Streams, his trip to common ping pong twitter, we saw another big spike in the tweets about pizza gate, but it wasn't at its peak just yet. So actually the kind of drops off again and then boom there's a big hit big spike on the twentieth than the peak in the twenty first. So what happened there, that's, when the New York Times publishes at the banking story, James Elles, does the American a ping pong and act They really really want add that New York Times to publish the story because he thought it would do but get he thought that having the truth, There would help the Berlin on its some of the fire, I'll give you look at the graph is. This is like a dog, and this is the big spike it just takes off. Add at this point
then, sir. So there's that really big piquant and there's like another valley owners something else. On November twenty eight there's like another spike, or it's almost up- it's almost up to that stratosphere again so may have on the twenty eighth the day before that Alex Jones put out dislike short quote documentary, Unquote called pizza, gaiters, real story, this for the biggest single internet for several weeks. Pizza gave us. It's called is a rabbit whole. That is horrifying ago now now, if you're a radio listener, this is a powerful video, but I've had it reposted too. This is real stuff going on here. It is a war, to viewers. The following images are disturbing. This
began after Wikileaks. Founder Julian Assange released hundreds of thousands of secret documents detailing back stabbing Clinton foundation. This video goes out on the info or Youtube Channel eyes. The artwork adorning comet ping pong walls at the very least so insanely creepy, especially for a family restaurant while clip, is Basically, a list of things that are supposed to be proof of pizza, gate and cold words. Now, please the menu from common ping, pong notice, the symbol of the ping pong paddles and its clever resemblance to the FBI, documents symbol for child love. This view it is the one that really inspires. Edgar medicine, Welsh, the guy who went into comic ping pong with an assault rifle parity on your lucky. You actually shoe media the aren't they tweet in fact The workers of children being murdered, cut in pieces and white by men with giant genitalia.
Alex shows his sense publicly apologize for spreading pizza gate but this is what he was saying last year talk to you to research it for yourself, but you got to go to infowars dot com actually see the photos and videos. Inside these places you got to see their menus. You ve, got to see, and all ladies and gentlemen and worlds did exactly Alex Jones asked his listers to do, he went to investigate comic ping. Pong for himself watch. Wasn't the only one quarter, competes gate fake news info, the american mine within this from Russia. One hundred and twenty six million users saw these russian propaganda posts which is just an enormous number coming up next on reveal
from the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal a mallet today. We're talking about Peter the completely false conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her former campaign to jump destiny ran a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a pizza place in washing conducive to keep in mind. There is no proof of any kind reporters Amanda Rob of the nonprofit profit newsroom, the investigative fun reveals, lost or chaskey have been looking into this, and it turns out that some of the points, spreading this story, the most work people at all, throughout reporting. We ve been looking at our list of tweets about pizza gate tweets that way right around the election last year, so we can understand exactly how the story spread and we took the top ten, most prolific twitters on our list to this profound
SAM Woolly, he read Turkey, social media and propaganda at a place called the digital intelligence lab in Palo Alto. California, the account is like without a shadow of a doubt, highly automated. It makes use of some kind of software to tweet because, as tens of thousands tweets in its relatively short life said when will says automation, he's talking about Botz by as in robot. A bought is a piece of computer software. Built to do an automated task, that a person would otherwise have to do lots of it, this it on the internet, since the internet was made public. So will we actually did this study with some of his colleagues at Oxford? no mercy where they looked at Twitter bought specifically during the twenty. Sixteen presidential campaign. When I talk about when I talk about vaults, usually are social bots and social bots are What's that are built to mimic human behavior, so they look
like a real person, but they actually using a fake identity and during recent political events. Over the last several years, social bodies have been used and attempts to manipulate public opinion. Wanted to look into this, and we found something really weird on our list of pizza gate tweets. Forty one percent of them, and that up getting deleted or They came from accounts that got deleted or were suspended or were made. Private So I asked woolly. What does that mean about who was spreading? Pizza gape right. Well, first thing. That really speaks to me is the accounts were deleted. That's a red flag, a lot of The accounts that were being used to spread effusively pro trump. Automated traffic Those accounts a few weeks, after the election were deleted. In fact, the day after the election. A lot of those accounts suddenly went missing.
I didn't really understand this before, but it turns out that, like in a modern presidential election campaign, Botz or just part of the picture, Donald Trump related. Spots are retreating on behalf of Donald Trump Route and attempts to support his messages in an automated way were out performing similar accounts. They were working on behalf of Clinton at a rate of five to one so that the clear Bought nets were basically like way out performed by the Trump Barnett's and if you are watching the news at all lately, like paying attention to all these congressional investigations into russian influence. Your PA, probably wondering. Were these russian Botz puts a really good question I feels like a international spy thriller what all these russian boss. I know it's like the cold war We're never ended right in Congo, has been looking into whether Russia interfered with our elections with propaganda.
Spread on social media, and I dont know how much you ve been following this out, but it's pretty nuts yeah I've totally been checking it out. I actually got into a twitter exchange with one of the fake russian accounts that sea to be an actual person the counter everywhere Earth day Twitter announced that its found two hundred and one accounts that word links it back to potential russian interference in the twenty. Sixth. We heard a lot this year about Russia in its attempt to use social media to influence a twenty sixteen presidential election out we'll give congressional investigators, and we still have scratch the surface in terms of our nature, foreign power with this This declaration and a building trolls to Environed, encouraging both sides to battle in the streets and create division between real Americans Congress just released a list of social media accounts that therein, to get her say, were set
up and run by a russian company called the internet research agency. The company's tie. To the Kremlin. We wanted to see if any of those accounts turned up on our list of pizza gate tweets so we brought in someone on the reveal staff whose just as obsessed with pizza gate as main Amanda Heron, hey, has gone ears again is reveals internet and cyber security reporter. What we basically want to know from you is like: is there thence, that pizza gate spread by Russia so from our I shall sample of people who tweeted about pizza gate. Between October thirtieth and December forth of last year, we found fifteen tweets. That came from
russian propaganda accounts. The earliest of these tweets on November eight came in and then their great word. At an fifth, we found fifteen pizza gate tweets that came right from these russian propaganda accounts. Yeah it's mine, lying to me. It is mine, blowing to me the earliest of these two its, which was on November, eight came from an account with the handle. Calvin Chambers, and it also tagged conservative Fox media personalities, Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs to try to get them to a kind of like latch onto it and push it out themselves yeah. I think it was an attempt to spread this to people with a larger public platform to spread the narrative. So there was another account Garrett Simpson that retweeted a tweet from the Trump supporting for
sitcoms, STAR rose and bar on November twenty third, so it's kind of like a word, salad of a whole bunch of different fora conspiracy theories that Lupin Pizza, it ok, so that's a tweet from Roseanne BAR that was retweeted by one of these russian. Account? Yeah, ok, he's arose in bar about pizza gate there. A russian propaganda account like did and we did it. They thought this is a good thing. Will help get out there yeah, I think so or they just you know we're fans of the rose anshar. It was a great shown the nineties, What's twitter gonna do to stop this from happening again and what's faced, Can I do and you too gonna do a Google going do you're getting a lot of you're getting facebook. Really starting now to take this seriously. To, for example, recently made public that one hundred and twenty six million users saw these rush propaganda posts, which is just
an enormous number. So, Much of this stuff is just breaking right. Now Even what we have now about. This is only the tip of the iceberg. This whole thing is alive, bigger than just the Clinton Trump election and the campaigns of twenty sixteen, because pizza gate kept going after the two Sixteen election was over it's a gate went viral after the presidential election was over and that viral activity as wide- if you want to the word
in fact, an actor Madison whilst on a North Carolina. This is where pizza gate had real world consequences for the pizza Rio, nor and his staff, and for the shooter to recap on December fourth: twenty. Sixteen a guy named EDGAR Medicine Welsh, became obsessed with the conspiracy theory and the idea that he was the one who had to go, save all the children. He thought were being held a come thing pomp, and so he slipped out of the house before dawn before his girlfriend, and his two daughters woke up, he drove from North Carolina to Washington DC with a handgun in a semi automatic rifle on the way he made a suicide. It's hard to hear me this recording what he saying that he needed to do this, because he needed to sacrifice himself to save the children when he gets the pizza. Ria, he starts looking for the basement. All he finds is locked door shoots up only to discover there is no basement Deasey Belize, say this North Carolina man, twenty eight year old, EDGAR Mass in Welsh, was inspired by a lie spread online to walk into this DC pizza restaurant with two guns: Sunday Amanda,
what became of Welsh, so EDGAR Madison Wiles Surrender to a Swat team and he was arraigned on federal charges and he was placed in solitary confinement and he eventual replied guilty and now his life and his family life is, is ruined and back at come ping pong the owner Zella contests and in his life is also changed. However, by this this man is going to speak years in jail, and prison supervised, probation, and my really name has been torn to shreds. And then there is all these other people who continue to harbour these lies and conspiracy theories online and there is absolutely no repercussions for these people and
I wonder when they will be held accountable. He old gets death threats any he's reachable on the internet on social media he's getting threats, his staff is getting threats and make and tell themselves. You know it's just an internet, rumour lake, you know nothing. Happen they know what can happen. Someone can show us that you're a restaurant, during the Sunday rush with a semi automatic weapon and start shooting, They can. I know that it is nothing they can do about it. Social media companies whose platforms spread so much of the fake news it's out there you don't know how big the problem is for exactly how to go about fixing it, and neither does Congress so many big news. Events now have an accompanying conspiracy theory that is pump out on Twitter and Facebook and too, on a life of its own. It could be
the shooting in LAS Vegas, like the biggest mass shooting in recent american history. That now as a whole set of conspiracy theories associated with it If there's anything, we learn from reporting the story. It's that fake news. He's not going away any time soon. Pizza gate is just one a ton of theories and theirs. I think that's been done to effectively control them There was a real lorries digestive. She Michael Schiller produced today show from on pizza gate. They didn't make it into the radio story, deafening got Amanda Robs article in Rolling Stone magazine. We could
done today show without reveals Aaron sanctions, the upper this door just get she Michael Schiller produced today surface on twitter gate. And in many other corners of the internet, and he helped us dig up the russian linked accounts who tweeted about PETE's again, thanks the Esther Kaplan at the investigative fund and Rob Fisher, Rolling Stone magazine Data editor, Michael Corey, helped us decoder, sample of pizza gate tweets that information was provided too: I feel Mansour at Indiana University Jasper, craving and Jaime Long Gloria at the investigative fund helped with research. John Daniels, sauce Gus poster, and do we mean Electric gave us a hand to Macedonia. Why why provided production help of this episode? designers, Jim Briggs. He had held from clear, Mullins Catherine Raimondo and catch up knit Chief Suzette Rivers, our executive, editor and Kevin Sullivan as our executive producer. He also had this week show my theme music
my comrade of lightning support for reveals divided by the River David Logan Foundation, the Fort Foundation, the John D in Captain Team of Foundation, the genus I James? It is foundation. The of Simons Foundation and the right excellence in journalism. Foundation reveal He was provided by the relevant David Logan Foundation, the Fort Foundation, the John D in Captain Team of Arthur Foundation, the genus to the story. These last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty. We are bringing the fire launching, some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the facts.
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.