How a fake news lie blaming China instead of Russia for election hacking went viral

How a fake news lie blaming China instead of Russia for election hacking went viral

Far-right media figures pushed the claim, and multiple radio stations ran with it

Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

A made-up story claiming that former FBI attorney Lisa Page told Congress that China, not Russia, was responsible for hacking during the 2016 election spread throughout far-right online spaces and fake news sites and onto radio. Page’s attorney has rebutted the claim.

True Pundit is a site known for posting false stories and pushing Pizzagate. On July 17, the site wrote that Page said, in “classified House testimony,” that there is secret evidence that “China hacked [Hillary Clinton’s] top secret emails.”

There is no evidence that Clinton’s emails were ever hacked. Rather, emails account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and the networks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) were all hacked. A recent indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller linked 12 Russian military officers to the hacks of the DNC and DCCC.

Furthermore, Page’s attorney, Amy Jeffress, told FactCheck.org that the story was “completely false,” adding that Page, in “nearly ten hours of testimony before the Committees, … did not say a single word about China hacking the DNC server, and this conspiracy theory about the FBI instructing her to cover up such a story is nonsense.” Jeffress also said Page’s testimony confirmed the intelligence community’s analysis that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Nonetheless, True Pundit’s article spread throughout far-right media, with the following sites and actors playing a role:

Multiple radio hosts subsequently shared True Pundit’s article on air:

  • On Tennessee talk station WWTN-FM, a host said it showed Page “getting ready to turn state’s evidence” against government officials. Before he read out True Pundit’s article, he told his listeners, “You make a determination as to whether this is accurate or not.”

  • On California talk station KNZR-FM, hosts called the article “earth-shattering” and “huge.”

  • On Florida talk station WEBY-AM, a host said it showed that Page was “a woman scorned” and that Clinton had been “setting up the narrative” about Russian interference.

  • On Louisiana talk station WBRP-FM’s Fletch Nation, a host suggested that the claim explained Trump’s July 17 statement that “other people” besides Russia could have interfered in the election.

  • And on Maryland talk station WCBM-AM, a host directly cited YourNewsWire while saying that Page said “it was the Chinese that hacked the DNC server and not the Russians,” which he added “makes sense to me.”

Network/Outlet
4chan
Person
Jerome Corsi, Bill Mitchell, Wayne Dupree, Wayne Allyn Root, Patrick Howley
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Fake News
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