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Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock (Licensed)
This one’s a doozy.
On Tuesday, both Erick Erickson and Big League Politics, a leading conservative blogger and fringe conservative website, wrote about what they saw as a break in the Brett Kavanaugh case. A photo showing Hillary Clinton and another middle-aged woman with short hair was circulating, along with claims that the woman in the photo with Clinton was Debra Katz, Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney.
“Is that actually Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney behind Hillary Clinton? It sure looks like it,” said Erickson in the now-deleted tweet. He was retweeting the original post of Twitter user @Trump45awesome, who posted the photo with the caption, “Friends, if you were looking for undeniable truth who is behind these false allegations, take a hard look at this picture. Who is behind Hillary? This will make your blood boil.”
Big League Politics writer Patrick Howley wrote, “PHOTO: Is this the Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyer with Hillary Clinton,” citing the Twitter account @PartingThoughtz for breaking the photo, which he claimed featured Clinton and Debra Katz.
However, the woman in the photo isn’t Debra Katz at all, as Media Matters pointed out. It’s Barbara Kinney, Clinton’s photographer.
The photo, and accompanying conspiracy theory, apparently originated on a QAnon message board. QAnon is the conspiracy theory that claims, among other things that the Clintons are pedophiles and President Donald Trump is going to save America by jailing them and others involved in a depraved Democratic cabal.
Both Erickson and Big League Politics deleted their content about the photo. Erickson even apologized on Twitter. But that didn’t stop people from calling him online.
I wouldn’t sweat it, after your behavior this past week no one takes your timeline seriously anymore.
— bob clendenin (@bobclendenin) September 26, 2018
He has a bright future on 4chan
— Scott Camp v. 2018 (@scottytaco) September 26, 2018
have you considered that the lesson here is that you are not normal
— mark (@kept_simple) September 26, 2018
— Quinn (@quinndmitchell) September 26, 2018
— DavidJeffersGroup (@FLADaveJ) September 26, 2018
As conspiracy theory researcher Travis View pointed out, “The false claim went from 8chan, to QAnon Twitter, to MAGA Twitter, to mainstream conservative Twitter in under a day.”
Apparently @EWErickson is spreading the false, 8chan-derived claim that Hillary Clinton and Debra Katz were pictured together in a 2016 photograph.
The false claim went from 8chan, to QAnon Twitter, to MAGA Twitter, to mainstream conservative Twitter in under a day. https://t.co/rWzn9w5UsR
— Travis View (@travis_view) September 26, 2018
Because on the internet, adding a Clinton to a conspiracy is like putting gasoline on a fire.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.