From the February 20 edition of MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi:
ALI VELSHI (HOST): Take a look at this popular meme that falsely accused Hillary Clinton and her campaign chair of being involved in a Satanic ritual called Spirit Cooking. It originally evolved from the WikiLeaks dump of [John] Podesta's emails after his brother talked about seeing an artist; it then morphed into this. These lies spread so far. It showed up on The Drudge Report and in Sean Hannity's account, “Leaked e-mail appears to link Clinton campaign chairman to bizarre occult ritual.” This is kind of crazy stuff, right?
VELSHI: These kinds of things ended up with somebody taking a gun to a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. because they thought that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring. Now that was different, but the point is these things do have impact.
BEN POPKEN (MSNBC.COM SENIOR STAFF WRITER): Right. It's really strange to see how these conspiracy theories, they start online, someone behind a keyboard and then it spills over into real-world action, and people aren't necessarily taking it seriously, but it starts to distort the conversation.
VELSHI: Right. And again, Sean Hannity is -- a lot of people watch his stuff, a lot of people listen to him on the radio. The fact is, that's kind of crazy. He spread information that was put out from a troll farm in Russia.
POPKEN: Right. So this particular Satanic cooking story started with a WikiLeaks tweet. They directed people to this excised part of the WikiLeaks chunks of the DNC hacked emails they were releasing over the summer and they said, check out this part. And that's what started it. Where the troll farm comes into play is then the trolls jumped on it, and they started amplifying it out to their networks, increasing the hashtag #SpiritCooking, and the more activity they get on it, they try to get that hashtag to trend, to show up into other networks that aren't looking at it and just try to promote -- it's marketing. It's really sick marketing, basically.