Three days after the Daily Beast ran a piece detailing how Donald Trump, Jr. has never encountered a right-wing conspiracy theory he wasn’t willing to spread, the younger Donald was back at it on Twitter on Monday morning.
The Trump Organization boss pushed a theory about CNN allegedly staging its coverage of the attacks in London to generate sympathy for Muslims.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 5, 2017
Don Jr.’s tweet shared an article from Gateway Pundit, a fringe website that isn’t above using “Reddit users” as sources. The article claims that behind-the-scenes video of a live CNN segment from London “show a CNN crew staging a scene with Muslims holding signs saying ‘ISIS Will Lose.’”
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) June 4, 2017
As has been the case with other right-wing conspiracy theories, this one spread from dark corners of the internet to widely-read websites of ill-repute, and from there to Don Jr.’s 1.62 million Twitter followers.
But producing live shots in the way CNN did in this case is common TV practice, and the network’s public relations office pushed back on the notion anything unusual was going on.
This is nonsense. Police let demonstrators through the cordon to show their signs. CNN along with other media simply filmed them doing so.
— CNN International PR (@CNNPRUK) June 5, 2017
“The group of demonstrators that was at the police cordon was being allowed through by officers so they could show their signs to the gathered media,” the statement continued. “The CNN crew along with other media present simply filmed them doing so.”
Don Jr.’s embrace of conspiracy theories — in April, he claimed a notorious Pizzagate pusher deserves a Pulitzer — has basically become official White House policy. The Trump administration has credentialed Gateway Pundit and Infowars, a site arguably best known for spreading the conspiracy theory that the 2012 school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was a hoax.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence ignored the fact that Sean Hannity has been pushing a murder conspiracy theory against the wishes of a grieving family and went on his Fox News show for an interview anyway.
While CNN’s coverage of the London attack featured “Muslim Mothers” who are condemning extremism, Trump fear-mongered, telling his 31.6 million Twitter followers on Sunday morning that “[W]e must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse.”
Minutes later, Trump took a shot at Sadiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London.
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
Trump’s tweet took Khan’s comment out of context. Khan wasn’t referring to the possibility of future attacks, but the additional police presence Londoners will see in days to come.