Paul Horner, a prominent fake news writer, was found dead.

Screengrab via CNN/YouTube

Prominent fake news writer found dead in Arizona

Horner once said, 'Trump is in the White House because of me.'

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Sep 27, 2017   Updated Sep 27, 2017, 10:31 am CDT

A prominent fake news writer who once boasted his fabricated stories helped President Donald Trump get elected was found dead in his home earlier this month, authorities announced Tuesday.

Paul Horner, 38, told the Washington Post last year that his websites and fake news articles–many of which went viral and for which he made thousands of dollars–directly helped Trump win in the 2016 presidential election. “Trump is in the White House because of me,” he claimed.

Local authorities in Arizona said there were no signs of foul play and “evidence at the scene suggested this could be an accidental overdose,” according to CBS News.

Horner’s fake news spread across the internet, and his stories were routinely picked up by Trump supporters on Facebook and Twitter. One domain, ABCNews.com.co was designed to trick people into appearing like the network news website. 

In his interview with the Post, Horner said his stories proliferated across the internet so quickly because “people are definitely dumber.”

Stories Horner made up were tweeted by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Trump’s son, Eric Trump.

“My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time,” he said during the interview. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in December 2016, Horner defended his fake articles, calling it “political satire.”

“A lot of the people that like my stuff, they know,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious the stuff I write is very political satire, there’s a lot of humor, a lot of comedy in it.”

Since the election web giants such as Facebook and Google have attempted to crack down on fake news and several other people have tried to develop games that can teach consumers how to spot articles that aren’t true.

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*First Published: Sep 27, 2017, 10:28 am CDT