Fake News for the Week Ending May 28, 2021

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, here’s all the fake news that’s not fit to print.

  • According to a survey by the PRI Institute, 15% of Americans (and 23% of Republicans) agree with the statement that “the government, media and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.” That’s right, about a sixth of our fellow citizens are apparently QAnon believers. That number grows considerably — to 40% — for those who primarily get their news from OANN, Newsmax, and other far-right “news” outlets. (That is, media further to the right than Fox News — stuff for the real die hards.) It’s scary that every sixth person you meet believes that Satan-worshipping pedophiles are running the government. How do you reason with people who live so far outside reality? This whole QAnon thing has truly moved beyond being a mere conspiracy theory to becoming a cult of true believers. The Hill has the story.
  • That said, there’s a little bit of good news about the QAnon cult. Apparently QAnon content “evaporated” online following social media’s crackdown on crackpot content following the January 6 Insurrection. Salon reports on the study.
  • Still on the QAnon thing, you know all the latest buzz about UFOs and how the military is actually taking them seriously this time? Well, some QAnon supporters are convinced that all this UFO talk is just a deep state scheme to divert our attention from all the supposed voter fraud that went on in the 2020 election. The conspiracy theories are using other conspiracy theories to bolster new conspiracy theories, and my head is spinning like a flying saucer. Read about it in the Daily Beast.
  • More on QAnon, unfortunately. It looks as if that diabolically insidious conspiracy theory is being propagated to a large degree by white Christian evangelical types. Fortunately, some pastors are trying to stop the infestation. CNN has the story.
  • Speaking of wacky evangelicals, noted pro-Trump pastor Jeff Jansen is claiming that “officials” will overturn the 2020 election results and somehow return ex-president Donald Trump to the White House. (This, of course, is constitutionally impossible, even if there was massive voter fraud — which there wasn’t.) In his own words: “This administration that we’re under right now is not really an administration. There is a Trump administration that’s coming back into power very, very quickly..” Get the poop from Newsweek.
  • Anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists are shifting their nonsensical attacks to those people who’ve already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Their latest hair-on-fire attacks claim that people who’ve been vaccinated can emit contagious particles of the coronavirus’s and infect others via a process referred to as “vaccine shedding.” This can supposedly cause problems with the menstrual cycles in unvaccinated women. While there is such a thing as vaccine shedding, it’s not a factor with COVID-19. Just more typical scare tactics from the ill-informed. Salon does the explaining on this one.
  • Finally, who’s the biggest spreader of disinformation today? Russia, so says Facebook based on a new report issued by the social media giant. The Washington Post has the details.

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