Following the mass murder of at least 26 people in a Sunderland Springs, Texas church by Devin Patrick Kelley, a comment posted to the Antifa’s It’s Going Down’s Facebook page began to go viral.
In a screenshot of the now-deleted comment, which was posted to Twitter by populist author Jack Posobiec on Friday, prior to the attack, a Facebook user named Dave Pollack had written that the anarchists need to “go after the heart of the far-right: conservative churches.”
Despite multiple people taking screenshots of the comments, Newsweek reporter Michael Edison Hayden seemed to accept that Posobiec manufactured it as charged by the Antifa website and its supporters.
“Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump figure with a large following on social media, who has a reputation for creating and pushing fake news stories about leftists, posted a screen shot of something that looked like a direct message conversation on Twitter.”
The Newsweek report followed that paragraph with a Tweet from Jack Smith IV, a far-left activist/reporter for Mic, who had alleged that Posobiec “fabricated whole cloth, possibly in order to incite violence,” without any questioning of his allegation.
Fabricated whole cloth, possibly in order to incite violence. https://t.co/U5Oxg5NAPs
— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) November 5, 2017
The report also quoted an unnamed anarchist representative for It’s Going Down, who stated that “Posobiec wants to attack social movements to further his own reactionary political ends while growing his fame and career along the way.”
Newsweek concluded their article with the remainder of It’s Going Down’s comment, which stated that “for the sake of not only the truth but people’s lives, it’s imperative that people recognize these phonies for what they are and denounce them.”
In fact, the comment was still up when Newsweek published their article, though it was rapidly deleted following Posobiec linking to it.
There are also screenshots from many different users on different types of devices.
It also appears in Google searches.
“Alt-left reporters literally made a fake conspiracy theory about me on my Wedding Day. These people never want to see us happy,” Posobiec tweeted of the accusations published by Newsweek.
— Tera Marie Major (@IamTeraMarie) November 6, 2017
When questioned about his report by another Twitter user, and provided with proof that his story was based on a falsehood, Hayden responded that he “can do an update in AM possibly.”
Hayden told Big League Politics: “Posobiec reached out to me and explained his point of view. I submit an update to the story this morning.”
The update stated:
Jack Posobiec contacted Newsweek after the publication of this article and claimed that the screenshot that he posted was not taken from a direct message but from a comment left by someone on IGD’s Facebook page. He added that he could not comment on the motivations of the shooter, and added that he posted the screenshot without any knowledge of the shooting in Texas having taken place. He called IGD’s depiction of him “completely false.”
Despite the clarification from Posobiec, Hayden still ended his piece on a high note for the Antifa website. The update also included a response from IGD, which basically asserts that even though they were wrong and it wasn’t doctored (which they knew when they deleted it off their Facebook comments), it is still the fault of the right.
“The spokesperson for IGD denied knowledge of the Facebook comment and added in a phone conversation that ‘half of our Facebook comments are put there by alt-right trolls,'” Hayden’s update read. He ended his piece with a new quote from the anarchist website’s spokesperson:
“Where it came from doesn’t matter,” the spokesperson said. “This is about insinuation and not fact.”
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