The peddler of sensational but false news

We are nowadays awash with news stories based on dubious and/or anonymous sourcing. The goal of such stories seem to be to fire up those who want to believe the stories because it supports their preconceptions. While I understand the power of confirmation bias, I am surprised that some people are so willing to believe things that are so obviously outrageous.

I was alerted to one example by this article that talks about how Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor were taken in by a hoaxer who exploited their desire to seize on any anti-Trump news to get them to spread the completely unverified claim that Trump’s former fashion model agency was under investigation by the New York attorney general for possible sex trafficking.

Mensch’s name was already known to me and I wrote about her before. She is a British expatriate, a former Conservative MP in the British parliament no less who, after making a fool of herself in the UK for her absurd allegations, is now in the US doing the same thing, focusing on the Vladimir-Putin-stole-the-election theme.

Her blog is called, appropriately enough patribotics: Exposing Vladimir Putin’s War on America and on its home page recently was the outlandish claim that secret proceedings are already underway to replace Donald Trump as president with senator Orrin Hatch, who is now getting the daily intelligence briefings to enable him to take over as president. Why Hatch? It is because should Trump be removed by some means, the first in line in succession (vice president Mike Pence) and the second in line (speaker Paul Ryan) are seen by these secret behind-the-scenes powers as being tainted by Trump and so Hatch, who occupies the obscure ceremonial position of president pro tempore that is the third in line, becomes president. It is not clear how that happens since Trump, Pence, and Ryan would, if they do not all resign, have to be successively impeached by the House of Representatives and then convicted by the Senate in order to be sequentially removed from office.

Who could anyone possibly believe such a bizarre story? And what kind of person would spread it? And most importantly, who benefits from her spreading these wild accusations? Given the fact that she was a Conservative party member who had the most appalling views, it would suggest that she, in addition to getting publicity for herself, is advancing what she thinks is a right-wing agenda however confused it might be. By spreading patently false stories about Trump, she may be helping bury any true stories that are damaging but not as lurid and thus do not get any attention.

What is really ironic is that the Yiddish word ‘mensch’ denotes a “person of integrity and honor”, something that she is definitely not. Here is Mensch displaying her typical hyperbolic style and her sneering contempt for young people protesting the state of the world getting laughed at by other panelists on a British TV show.


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