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Turns out the best way to make a fool of the mainstream media is to act like you’re telling the truth and then yell, “Gotcha!” when they report what you told them. Extra brownie points if the thing you told them was that you eat books.
On Thursday, Vice’s Broadly reported that Paul Joseph Watson, InfoWars‘ editor at large, has an unusual but very real eating disorder called pica, characterized as the eating of items that aren’t food and contain no nutritional value. Watson says pica causes him to eat pages of older books.
“Funny you should ask—my eating habits are not normal. I suffer from the pica eating disorder. This means I literally eat books. Pages of older books especially. I have managed to curb it in recent years, but it’s still a thing,” Watson replied when contacted for an article on the diet and exercise habits of InfoWars staffers. “There’s no real treatment. It’s not harmful to my health though. Still, at least I can safely say I’m consuming knowledge. :-D”
Colon dash capital D, indeed. Turns out Watson was, as he puts it, lying? Deliberately misleading? Providing alternative facts? Whatever you want to call it, Watson tweeted Friday evening that he doesn’t actually eat books. Case closed, folks.
Well, but not before he doubled down on it by claiming pica was his “disability.”
Watson’s admission—or recanting—came hours after Mediaite repeated Watson’s claims, qualifying his eating disorder with a phrase implying that they didn’t completely believe him.
“Now, a caveat that the good folks at InfoWars have been known to spread misinformation in an attempt to stoke media coverage, so it’s maybe worth taking Watson’s claims with a grain of bark,” Mediaite’s Aidan McLaughlin wrote of the eating disorder allegation.
Initially, Watson punched back by calling “the left” bigoted for making fun of his eating disorder, which he called a disability.
The left is making fun of me for having a disability. They have proven themselves to be true bigots once again. https://t.co/fzyC5bPIh0— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 2, 2017
After which, Mediaite published another piece suggesting Watson eat titles, “Men Explain Things to Me,” by Rebecca Solnit, “The World Is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman, and seven others.
That’s when Watson’s “I DON’T EAT BOOKS NERDS U EAT BOOKS” narrative began rolling in, with tweets jeering at the left for calling InfoWars “fake news,” then publishing Watson’s presumably-fake news.
RawStory, covering Watson’s eating disorder turned disability turned fake news prior to Watson’s admission, included the line, “InfoWars has been called, ‘QVC for conspiracy’ and has been accused of bilking fans with quack cures.”
Yes, between RawStory’s fake news disclaimer, Mediaite’s “grain of bark” line, and Broadly’s clickbait gimmick of interviewing InfoWars staffers on their diet, the mainstream media definitely had the pages pulled over our eyes this time. Good job, Watson, you got us good!
For the record, though, Watson did not immediately respond to a Daily Dot inquiry on the status of his book eating or alleged pica eating disorder.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.